Jermaine Woodward, whose eight-year-old son was killed in a Jersey City hit-and-run accident in June, questioned if Mayor Steven Fulop is ready to be governor if “you can’t protect none of our kids” at the Ward A community meeting last night.
Fulop started the meeting by handing out public safety data sheets which showed Jersey City Crime Stats of the years 2013, 2014 and 2015.
In comparison to the Jersey City crime statistics, the data sheets also showed the crimes stats of Jersey City’s South District, which the majority of the meeting focused on.
During the topic of police and community interaction, Fulop explained “Very few witnesses want to move forward and be a part of the process to convict people. That places tremendous strain on what we are trying to do.”
Later adding, “We need cooperation and a partnership with the community because that is the only way to get people off the streets in a permanent way.”
Fulop made nearly identical remarks at the first community meeting hosted in Lincoln Park last month.
This statement from Fulop caused resident Jermaine Woodward to speak out against the mayor’s proposal of community involvement, bringing up the case of his 8-year-old sons death – where a hit-and-run occurred outside of 50 Bostwick Ave, in June.
” … And you want to be the governor, how do you be the governor if you can’t protect none of our kids?” Woodward asked in a huff of frustration.
At Monday’s community meeting in the Jersey City Heights, Fulop said “I am not today actively running for governor.”
With no arrests made in the matter, despite witness testimony, Woodward felt community involvement with the police exists, but involvement from current officials remains lax.
Fulop then sympathized with Woodward and informed the public of the process in which homicides are dealt with in the city.
“Anytime there is a homicide, or a potential homicide, in the city it is the same process that the city follows. The Hudson County Prosecutors Office takes over the investigation entirely: it leaves our hands and this is a process to protect residents ultimately.”
Pamela Johnson, the executive director of the Jersey City Anti-Violence Coalition Movement, voiced her opinions on community relations with the current administration, in particular to the issue of Woodward’s son.
“There was no type of initiative to say we can advocate for you, that’s the problem. People don’t feel empowered in the community, there are no jobs, recreation is not in the school system, schools are not open as late as they should be so children could come off the street and come into a safe haven,” she said.
“Every child out there is not out there because they want to be. I sit in a lot of these meetings and hear a lot of community bashing and victim bashing, about how we should step forward and be accountable.”
“Everyone is accountable, not just the community, so if I report that I see a murder I’m helping you solve that murder, but what is preventing the next murder?”
Other officials in attendance at the meeting were Ward A Councilman Frank Gajewski, City Council President Rolando Lavarro, Ward B Councilman Khemraj “Chico” Ramchal, Councilwoman-at-Large Joyce Watterman and Public Safety Director James Shea – among others.