On June 2, North Bergen Mayor Nicholas Sacco issued a statement regarding the death of George Floyd.
“On behalf of the Board of Commissioners, the North Bergen Police Department and our entire community, I want to express our deepest sympathies to the family of George Floyd and to everyone who is feeling the pain of his death,” Sacco said.
Demonstrations continue across the country in response to police brutality against African Americans, specifically the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.
Floyd was an unarmed African-American man who was killed in Minneapolis when police officer Derek Chauvin held his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes.
Floyd was later pronounced dead. Chauvin has since been fired and charged with murder and manslaughter.
Largely peaceful protests have taken place across the state from Trenton to Newark. However, in Trenton a police car was set on fire, hours after local officers marched alongside the protesters.
Ingrained in the system
Mayor Sacco said that Floyd’s death was part of the larger issue of institutional racism.
“Mr. Floyd’s murder was a senseless, unnecessary event that never should have happened, and it’s a stark reminder of the work that still must be done across our country to tackle institutional racism,” Sacco said.
Sacco acknowledged that no place is perfect, and North Bergen is no exception. However, he remains proud of North Bergen for how the community has coped in recent times.
“I am prouder than ever right now of the way our diverse community always pulls together in times of crisis and works hard to coexist, embrace our differences and focus on what we all have in common,” Sacco continued. “I take a particular amount of pride in our North Bergen Police Department, which has made extraordinary strides in recent years to become more diverse and to work hard every day to strengthen its relationships with our residents.”
From participating in community events and organizing proactive meetings with residents, to using technology and de-escalation tactics to reduce the use of force, Sacco said the NBPD has become a model of what a modern police department should be.
Now, Sacco said, the only way forward is to do the real work of understanding what got us to this place and creating a new path forward. That will take leadership at all levels, from the federal and state government to local communities, and it will not be simple or easy.
“We can’t let the raw anger that so many justifiably feel right now destroy any chance at progress,” Sacco said. “We need to come together for our country and for our future.”
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