Marking George Floyd Anniversary with Solemnity and Action

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As we honor Mr. Floyd, we also honor Darnella Frazier, the courageous young woman who videotaped the violence that killed him. For even as multiple witnesses watched the incident unfold, who of us does not question whether Derek Chauvin would have been convicted if not for Ms. Frazier’s bravery?

In honor of Ms. Frazier’s actions and aligned with our commitment to transform public safety in New Jersey’s communities, we and our partners at the ACLU-NJ today released To Record and Protect, a short policy brief calling on Attorney General Gurbir Grewal to establish a statewide First Amendment Policing Policy to reaffirm community members’ right to record police encounters.

To Record and ProtectThis image requires alt text, but the alt text is currently blank. Either add alt text or mark the image as decorative.Our brief argues that AG Grewal should establish a statewide policy binding on police departments that outlines the scope of the public’s right to record police encounters and prohibits police from intimidating them or interfering with that right.

While some New Jersey police departments, including the Newark Police Division, already have these kinds of policies, it is time to make these policies statewide.

At the Institute, we know that reform means nothing without accountability to the communities served. That’s why we also testified last week against a bill in the legislature that would have legitimized chokeholds, convincing lawmakers to put a hold on that harmful bill. We will be advocating strongly for a bill that effectively criminalizes chokeholds.

Even as we strive to achieve accountability in policing, we must simultaneously continue to move forward with reimagining what communities really need to feel and be safe, and to explore non-police response systems to many incidents.

We thank you for standing with us as we do that, and as we work to repair all the cracks of structural racism in our foundation.


Brooke Lewis

Associate Counsel, New Jersey Institute for Social Justice