Jersey City unites for powerful and peaceful Greenville protest over George Floyd’s killing

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Jersey City residents, activists, and public officials came together for a powerful and peaceful Greenville protest over George Floyd’s killing earlier this afternoon.

Hundreds of people, perhaps upwards of 500, could be heard chanting phrases such as “No justice, no peace” and “Hand up, don’t shoot” down Martin Luther King Drive this afternoon as part of a roughly mile-and-a-half long route throughout Greenville.

The rally began at Berry Lane Park and made its way to the Greenville Police Precinct, located at 19 Bergen Ave.

The well-attended event was the first demonstration in Hudson County to speak out against Floyd’s death.

The 46-year-old black man died on May 25th after then Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin, a white man, placed his knee on Floyd’s neck for several minutes while he was handcuffed.

“We know what happened in Minneapolis, that’s not an isolated incident. They try to tell us these are all isolated incidents,” said Hector Oseguera, a Democratic challenger for U.S. Rep. Albio Sires’ (D-8) seat.

Speaking directly in front of the police headquarters with a megaphone, he mentioned the killings of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky and Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida as other instances of unjust fatalities in recent memory.

Additionally, Jersey City Anti-Violence Coalition Movement Executive Director Pamela Johnson led the crowd in chants of “Power to the people” and “We have the power” before asking everyone to join her at a City Hall protest against police brutality tomorrow at 4 p.m.

Black Men United Jersey City Founder Nevin Perkins, an event organizer, gave a message of engaging with local and spreading love, leading one final “Power to the people” chant before the crowd dispersed.

While the Jersey City Police Department did not directly participate in the rally, Public Safety Director James Shea and Police Division Director Tawana Moody both marched with the group.

Furthermore, while several officers at the precinct were standing outside of the building dressed in riot gear, none of them had to get involved with any sort of crowd control.

Overall, Mayor Steven Fulop, who also walked with the crowd to the precinct, called the event a success.

“Today we saw a lot people protesting peacefully to send a strong message. I think the Police Department, under Director Shea and Chief Kelly have a good reputation of acting swiftly and quickly,” Fulop said in regards to criticisms of police brutality in Jersey City.

“Whether it was the individual on fire, the fireworks incident, we don’t waste any time while making sure to follow the law.”

Four Jersey City police officers were forced to resign over a 2017 pursuit that ended in a fiery crash, with the victim being kicked by at least two officers, while the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office didn’t charge three cops who fired their service weapons after two young adults set off fireworks last year.

More currently, the HCPO is investigating a street fight incident on Bostwick Avenue, with cell phone video leading black leaders to ask at least one officer who used his police baton to be suspended.

Fulop, Shea, and Kelly previously said that the officers on scene showed restraint after someone reached for an officer’s gun.

While the body camera footage from the incident hasn’t been released yet, Fulop said he plans on doing so after the HCPO gives the city the okay.

“Transparency and the public having access to that is really important. We want it released, the public has it right to see it,” the mayor stated.

A 34-minute clip of the rally streamed on our Facebook page and can be viewed below:

Editor’s note: News Correspondent Marc Bussanich contributed to this report.