March and rally of Newark Garner protest

March and rally of Newark Garner protest

By Gabe Wanissian, Sports Editor and Fellix Lyu, Online Editor

NEWARK – Following the aftermath of the Garner protests in specific locations of Manhattan on Wednesday, the uproar spread to New Jersey, where more protests were planned to take place in the city of Newark. According to Black Star News, the People’s Organization for Progress planned to march and rally, protesting against the decision of the Eric Garner case.

The protests started on Thursday evening, when the organizations behind this occurrence rallied supporters and held signs that read, “Justice for Eric Garner.” Using percussive instruments, the crowd beagn to march from the “Seated Lincoln” memorial at Essex County Courthouse through West Market Street, then towards Springfield Avenue and back. Those involved were holding signs, chanting: “Stop police brutality, In the black community!” or “America, don’t shoot!”


News teams from New Jersey cover the event

As the march continued, more and more pedestrians joined the protest. One pedestrian, Tanya Jerry, 38, had this to say: “People have the right to an opinion and they have the right to fight back, and a lot of young people seem to want to fight back. It (the march) has gotten bigger as it’s gone.” Jerry said, “Change is gonna happen, we’re tired.”

During the protest, the crowd wanted to remind passersby of previous cases, similar to this one, so that their names would not be forgotten. Names such as Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Tamir Rice were also plastered over posters and various memorabilia.

Compared to the earlier protests that commenced in Ferguson, MO and the ongoing protests currently occurring in the crowded streets of New York City, the demonstrations that took place in Newark retained a far more cooperative atmosphere between the law enforcers and the protesters.

Protester Laquan Thomas told The Torch, “Everybody is handling this nicely without getting violent. [The protests are] being done safely. I think the message is clear.”

The general consensus amongst restless protesters was that regulation in the police system need to be implemented sooner rather than later.

John Womack, a member of the People’s Organization for Progress for 10 years, stated, “It would be good to see civilian oversight amongst the police department. How that gets implemented, I don’t know, but at the moment there is essentially none.”

The chairman of the POP, Larry Hamm said, “POP is 33 years old, we were founded in 1983, and we have been fighting police brutality every year since we were formed. In fact, police brutality was one of the issues that caused us to form POP. I was the founder and chairman, I was there in 1983, when it was founded. We actually started an effort to build an organization, back in 1981, but we had discussions and debates, that went on for two years. That was when we formed the organization.”

Through time, the rally marches on

Through time, the rally marches on

According to Hamm, the POP is a coalition of 179 other organizations, with the groups involved with the protest including the Newark Anti-Violence Coalition, New Jersey Industrial Union Council, American Civil Liberties Union, New Jersey Peace Action, Radical Women, and War Against Poverty Coalition.

Later on, protesters flocked back to the “Seated Lincoln” memorial, where, at the last minutes of the protest, a POP lead meeting was being held. This gave leeway for Regina Ashford, mother of the deceased 23-year-old Kashad Ashford, to thank the protesters for coming out.

Back on September 16, Kashad Ashford was shot by police after being involved in a car chase that spanned from Lyndhurst to Rutherford. While authorities made it known that two police officers and a state trooper were involved in the shooting, details have mostly been kept under the wraps; Regina Ashford took to the streets for answers.

“I’m going in positive that there’s going to be more for my son. Because I have to. You take three police officer and you shoot him 15 times, by his house where his children sleep. Except theres no video, theres no “I can’t breathe” nothing is known about what happened,” stated Regina.

Towards the end of the rally, future protests, dedicated to the deaths of Kashad Ashford and Abdul Kamal, were announced. The next two are expected to happen on Friday and on Saturday, respectively, in Hackensack and Elizabeth. Hamm said, “When they come out with the grand jury for Abdul Kamal, we’ll come out.”