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NJ activists begin 67-mile march to Trenton for passage of police reform bill

The 67-mile march for police reform is being led by Lawrence Hamm, chairman of the People's Organization for Progress and former U.S. Senate candidate. – Photo by Bijan Terani / People's Organization for Progress

On Friday, individuals from approximately 25 organizations across New Jersey set out on a 67-mile march throughout the state to advocate for police reform legislation, according to a press release.

The Long March for Justice: March to Trenton For Police Accountability, Social Justice And Economic Progress will make its way through 23 towns and cities, including New Brunswick, over a span of nine days, with the largest section of the march planned to occur along Route 27 South and Route 206 South.

The marchers will go to Kendall Park on Wednesday and finish at the New Jersey State House in Trenton on Saturday, according to the release. There, they will call upon lawmakers to pass a police reform bill that has been in the works of the state legislature for a year.

“We are walking from Montclair to Trenton to highlight the issue of police brutality and to demand the ... Legislature pass legislation to hold police accountable,” said Lawrence Hamm, chairman of the People’s Organization for Progress (POP), who will attempt to walk the entire distance. “First and foremost, we demand passage of A4656/S2963, the police review boards with subpoena power bill.”

The POP is also pushing for the passage of several bills to make law enforcement disciplinary records accessible to the public, criminalize chokeholds by law enforcement officers, establish requirements for using deadly force and set restrictions for qualified immunity for public employees in the state, according to the release.

They are demanding the veto of a bill that would allow police in New Jersey to review body-worn camera footage before their initial reports, according to the release.

At the national level, the POP is calling for the passage of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, according to the release. They are also demanding the establishment of a $15 federal minimum wage and the removal of the Senate filibuster.

“We are also marching for racial, social and economic justice,” Hamm said. “We demand that African-Americans receive reparations for slavery in the (U.S.)”

To this end, the POP is supporting the passage of two bills that would create the New Jersey Reparations Task Force and the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans, according to the release.

Marchers plan to pass through New Brunswick tomorrow afternoon and will meet supporters at the New Brunswick Train Station, according to the release.

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