NBPD should keep tighter control of protestors
I mourn the loss of Barry Deloatch. I mourn the loss of any innocent man or guilty man. I mourn the loss of any black man or white man. I empathize with those whose humanity is shaken upon the taking of life just as I empathize with those who do not have the depth to be disturbed by the taking of life. I would stand alongside those who protest police misconduct in front of City Hall. I would stand alongside those seeking to bring attention to an unjust loss of life on any day in any reasonable place.
However, I could not stand alongside the demonstrators who protested Deloatch’s unlawful death on Monday at the intersection of George and New Streets. Ignoring traffic lights, that group of people stood and scowled at me while I was trying to make my way to class, despite communicating my solidarity. I cannot believe that a fellow citizen going about their day would be glared and poked fun at so maliciously by demonstrators who seemed aware that the police wouldn’t respond to any of that citizen’s phone calls. Coincidently, that was the case. All of my calls went dismissed or met with responses like “We have officers monitoring them,” “I don’t know if they have a permit to protest,” “Just turn around and go another way,” “Would you like to talk to my supervisor? He’ll tell you the same thing ...” When has not enforcing the law become an option?
The New Brunswick Police Department (NBPD) did not enforce the rule of law and undermined public safety, openly allowing a main street to be blocked by demonstrators not adhering to the law. Under no circumstances should a citizen calling their local police department with a complaint of civil misconduct be ignored and have their concerns go unaddressed. The NBPD failed miserably to maintain order at that intersection on that day. Demonstrators should have been told to move to the sidewalk. If a street demonstration is legal, it should be accompanied by rerouted traffic, not gridlocked for blocks. What faith can we place in our police department if they cannot handle a complaint of civil misconduct judiciously? What will happen when I call them about something more serious or something life-threatening?
As for the demonstrators, I stand with them in seeking an investigation into the shooting of Deloatch — may he rest in peace — but I ask, what gives you the right to upend my education and the education of all of the students who didn’t make it to class, just because you are upset and felt like George and New Streets at 6 p.m. on a Monday was the best place to make it known? You have a right to protest that I would die for, but you also have the capacity to do so within the boundaries of the law and with the utmost civility — I hope.
Simon Galperin is a School of Arts and Sciences junior.
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