September 19, 2019 | 47° F

Crowd blocks traffic for day five of protest

Photo by Ramon Dompor |

Bennie Deloatch, brother of Barry Deloatch, leads the crowd in a closing prayer yesterday on the corner of Throop Avenue and Handy Street. The protest lasted several hours and blocked traffic along the Handy Street, George Street and Suydam Street loop.

Protests continued yesterday evening for Barry Deloatch, a New Brunswick man who last week was shot during an altercation with the New Brunswick Police Department (NBPD) — and they do not look to end soon.

Family and friends of Deloatch as well as community members began the fifth day of their march, which lasted for several hours and blocked traffic along their route, which began and ended at the intersection of Handy Street and Throop Avenue.

“We’re out here for a bigger purpose. This purpose is to make sure that this never happens again,” said rally coordinator and family friend Tormel Pittman through a megaphone. “Put your signs up, because this cannot happen ever again.”

Pittman said throughout the peaceful protesting, which began Thursday at City Hall on Bayard Street, he has not heard one complaint.

“The City of New Brunswick [has] never seen anything like this. The City of New Brunswick’s never seen action like this,” he said to the crowd of about 50 people.

Pittman and other members of the protest said they would continue until they feel justice is served. The next protest is scheduled for today at 4 p.m. at Handy Street, and will continue at the same time and place every day. On Saturdays, protests begin at 8 p.m.

Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce Kaplan launched an extensive investigation to determine what exactly happened last Thursday when 47-year-old Deloatch was shot during a foot chase with two New Brunswick police officers. Deloatch died at 12:37 a.m. at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.

According to the prosecutor’s office most recent release, the investigation showed so far that the two officers, who were on routine patrol and are now on administrative leave pending the investigation’s outcome, questioned three men, including Deloatch who fled. They followed him into an alley, where a struggle led to the shooting.

In the initial investigation, Deloatch was found without a firearm. But the investigation is trying to determine if he was in possession of another weapon and whether he used it against the officers.

Bennie Deloatch, one of the victim’s brothers, said he wants the world to know what happened, so it will not happen again in the future.

“If the whole world sees this and it doesn’t get taken care of, what’s going on with America now? Where’s our justice? There is none. This will be proof whether there is justice or not,” he said. “This city is going to be turned upside down with peaceful protesting.”

Pittman said their cause is asking the investigators to look into the complaints on the record of every officer in the NBPD.

“Once we look into each individual officer and find out what their police record is, what type of conduct they have, then we won’t have this incident again,” he said.

Pittman said the protestors have been everyone from local residents to college students to city employees, and their numbers are growing.

He said University students have helped the cause, uniting “townies,” city employees and students.

“I don’t know what field [the students are] going into, but just to have this experience of taking control, they will have that will them for the rest of their lives,” Pittman said.

School of Arts and Sciences senior Corey Paige has lived in the area for six years and protested all this week.

He said he thinks this situation shows that people need to be held accountable to the law.

“Love, truth, peace, freedom and justice — those are the five principles that I run by,” Paige said. “So I’m all about peace, but I’m also about justice, more importantly. So I want justice to be served.”

By Jovelle Abbey Tamayo and Mary Diduch

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