During a time when so many in our community and our nation are rightly shocked and outraged at the unjust murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, it is important that I not remain silent.
There is no question in my mind that Mr. Floyd was murdered by Derek Chauvin. I am somewhat encouraged by the fact that this officer was charged and taken into custody. My hope is that justice is fully served upon everyone who is culpable in this unconscionable act.
Unfortunately, this is only the latest in a long, painful history of unjustifiable deaths of African-Americans. These are sometimes at the hands of police officers who misuse the power entrusted to them, but also occur through the violence of individuals whose racial bias motivates them to take the law into their own hands, as in the murder of Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, Georgia.
There is no place for racial injustice in our country, and no place for extrajudicial killings. We must have the difficult conversations that, I pray, will someday enable us to achieve true equality. I am proud and grateful that our community largely avoids the racial conflict that festers in too many places, but also recognize that it does not relieve us from the need to have those conversations and actively work to maintain equal rights, access, and privileges at the local level.
I want to be absolutely clear that I support the need for law and order and those who serve as police officers. I support the police officers that go to work every day and do what’s right to protect the people ￼throughout our nation. ￼In particular, I stand with the men and women of the Rahway Police Department, who each day make me proud through their efforts to be a part of our community and keep it safe.
I am deeply saddened by the looting and destruction that has occurred in Minneapolis and other cities. Beyond the initial damage, I know that we are witnessing wounds in these communities that will take years if not decades to heal. I do not endorse the criminal activity taking place, although I do understand the anger and frustration being expressed. In the words of Dr. King, “a riot is the language of the unheard”. My hope is that voices of peaceful protest and, more importantly, dialog, will prevail over violence.
As a lifelong Rahway resident, I deeply value the diversity that graces our City and that has always been a part of my life. As Mayor, I am committed to ensuring that every member of our community is equally represented and protected, and that every voice is heard.