#JusticeforJerame: Community not backing down

Cyril Josh Barker | 2/12/2015, 11:15 a.m.
As residents in the southern New Jersey community of Bridgeton continue their fight for justice in the police killing of ...
Jerame C. Reid

Amsterdam News Staff

As residents in the southern New Jersey community of Bridgeton continue their fight for justice in the police killing of a Black man that was caught on video, some are facing criminal charges for protesting.

Reports indicate four people have been charged for marching to City Hall last week and into a City Council meeting to voice their outrage over the shooting of Jerame Reid. The four were charged with walking in traffic.

Among the four facing charges is the key leader of the movement in Bridgeton, Walter Hudson, who chairs the National Awareness Alliance. The organization has been at the forefront of helping Reid’s family and raising awareness of the situation.

Officers reportedly told marchers over a loudspeaker to move out of the street for their own safety. The march took place during rush hour, when traffic was particularly heavy.

Tensions have been running high in the city since a video of Reid putting his hands up before being fatally shot by officer Braheme Days, who is Black, went viral. Days claimed he saw a gun in the glove compartment of the vehicle Reid was riding in.

At the time of the shooting, Reid had filed a $100,000 lawsuit against the Cumberland County Department of Corrections over allegations that in 2009, he was abused while in jail.

“Now I think the people of Bridgeton see why Jerame Reid was executed the night of December 30, 2014,” Hudson said to the media. “There is a rogue and aggressive police culture in Bridgeton. We intend to bring it to light. I want the mayor and the rest of the power structure to know we are not going anywhere.”

Among those also charged were 24-year-old Kyle Moore, 61-year-old Lawrence Hamm, founder of the People’s Organization for Progress, and 36-year-old Melissa Byrne. A hearing is scheduled for Feb. 17. The marchers face a $54 fine.

“In addition to the initial warning, officers utilized their patrol car loudspeakers to advise the marchers to utilize the sidewalks and that they were in violation if they did not,” Gaimari said in one report. “Less than a handful of the … marchers openly defied the requests and the requirement.”

An editorial published by the South Jersey Times is calling for the Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office to relinquish the investigation of the shooting death of Reid.

“This is continuance of the injustice,” Hudson said. “There are too many red flags by the prosecutor Jennifer Webb-McRae and the Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office. If NJSACOP review team found that Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office is not up to standard, then how can we as a people have any faith that there will be a fair and impartial investigation? This is an outrage.”