FREEHOLD – Amid ongoing accusations regarding alleged instances of police brutality in the United States, municipal officials in Freehold Borough have pledged to review the Freehold Borough Police Department’s policies and to engage the community in that initiative.
During a meeting on June 15, Borough Council members passed a resolution in which they pledged to work with the police department, residents and community leaders.
Council members said they intend to review the police department’s use of force policies; engage the community by including a range of input, experiences and stories; report and keep the community apprised of the steps taken and seek feedback; and reform the use of force policies as necessary.
Since late May, protests generated by accusations of police brutality have been ongoing throughout the country following the arrest of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black resident of Minneapolis, Minn.
Video of the arrest shows a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, pressing his knee to Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes. Floyd was handcuffed and was face down in the street during the time Chauvin was astride him.
Floyd died during the incident and Chauvin has been charged with second degree murder. Three other officers who were at the scene of Floyd’s arrest have been charged with aiding and abetting second degree murder.
Floyd’s death and the deaths of other black Americans in incidents involving the police has prompted an examination of police policies.
“Our nation continues to be divided by hundreds of years of racial injustice and discrimination,” council members said in the resolution. “Recent injustices by a few police officers have created a swell of Americans across all races to come together and peacefully protest these wrongdoings by a few that are sworn to uphold the law.”
Council members said their statements were not intended to condemn all police officers, but to target police officers who disregard their oath to serve and protect, and who fail to exhibit human decency toward people of color.
“Police officers and elected officials must be held accountable and must put forward policies and laws that protect every citizen of this country,” Freehold Borough officials said in the resolution.
“Toward this end, the borough pledges to continue to assess all of its laws and policies and engage the community at large in moving forward to eradicate systemic racism. The governing body stands against racism in any form and encourages the free and open exchange of ideas and stories,” they said.