CBS2’s Kevin Rincon reports some reforms are already in the works as protesters continue demanding change.
Images coming out of Jersey City are in stark contrast to what’s been seen in New York City. There have not been clashes with police, instances of property being damaged or causes for a citywide curfew.
Instead, police and protesters have, in some ways, worked together.
“They know and trust that we will protect their rights to express their pain and frustration,” said Jersey City Public Safety Director James Shea.
Shea, whose brother is NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea, says police do not always agree with the demonstrators, but it’s about showing a level of respect.
“That trust goes a long way to helping us do our job,” said Shea.
Director Shea says both he and his brother have long agreed on the need for neighborhood policing.
“We make a concerted effort of recruiting police officers from every community in Jersey City so that our police officers aren’t just the police in Jersey City, they are Jersey City,” said Shea.
“We haven’t put curfews in place over here. We’ve respected our citizens and they’ve used good judgement until now,” said Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop.
Mayor Fulop took a national pledge started by The Obama Foundation, which is calling on mayors across the country to review and reform their police departments’ use of force policies.
“We signed on immediately and we started to look at our use of force policies,” said Fulop. “And they were very strong as is, and we decided to tighten them and clarify language to make people feel more comfortable around them.”
Among the changes are: banning choke holds, requiring the use of deescalation tactics and mandating officers intervene when another is clearly using excessive force.
Before demonstrations this weekend, several businesses have taken extra steps to prevent the potential for looting by boarding up.
Some are embracing the message and joining the calls for change.