NEWARK — Members of the People’s Organization for Progress marched down Broad Street in Newark this afternoon as part of a demonstration against police brutality, organizers said.
About 50 people walked along Newark’s main artery from Market Street to the Newark Police Department’s headquarters on Green Street, shouting “Stop police brutality in the black community.”
Lawrence Hamm, chairman of POP, said the main reason for the march and demonstration was to bring attention to the issue of police brutality and to support a petition by the American Civil Liberties Union seeking a federal investigation of the Newark Police Department. The ACLU petition, filed in September, claims the police department routinely violates residents’ civil rights through excessive force and false arrests.
Hamm, who led the protest in front of police headquarters, said his organization wants to add to the “voices that are already out there on this issue” and hopes to establish a civilian police review board.
“It’s not a Newark problem,” said Hamm. “What we’re calling for in Newark could be called for in every major city in the United States. You can find this problem all across the country.”
Deborah Jacobs, executive director of the ACLU in New Jersey, watched quietly from the sidelines during the demonstration. She said she had some concerns after police arrested six people at another rally, held by Newark’s Anti-Violence Coalition earlier this week in Irvington. Jacobs, who attended this afternoon’s Newark demonstration to see if POP members would encounter any free speech problems, said she did not see observe any difficulties.