Newark officials: Protest recent police shootings, but do it peacefully

By Luke Nozicka | For NJ.com
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on July 08, 2016

Newark officials gathered Friday at City Hall to urge citizens to protest recent high profile police shootings peacefully. Authorities also said they are taking steps to protect city police officers.

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NEWARK — City officials are encouraging citizens to express their anger and frustration over recent high profile police shootings, but are asking they do it without destruction or violence. 

"We have always had peaceful protests in and around this city for many, many years, some of which I participated in myself," Newark Mayor Ras Baraka said during a press conference Friday afternoon at City Hall. "We want to continue that tradition here in the city of Newark."

Standing behind a podium with the mayor and several officers, Director of Public Safety Anthony Ambrose said he was sending his condolences to not just the five Dallas police officers who were murdered during a protest over fatal police shootings Thursday night, but also to the two men who were killed at the hands of police in Louisiana and Minnesota.

"We're here today not to separate, but we're here to unite," Ambrose said, adding that "judgement day will come for the officers involved" in the shooting deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.

Ambrose said Newark police will deploy some of the city's clergy members with officers in specialty cars to serve as "mediators."

The public safety director assured the clergy involved will be safe, saying "we're not going to put them in a patrol car responding to a shooting or a robbery in progress."

Ambrose said the department has received no threats since the shooting in Dallas. He said there will be more officers on the streets, however, and the department is taking steps to assure its officers go home to their families each night.

"The shootings of those police officers are deplorable, unjustifiable acts that should not have taken place," Baraka said. "We stand with them in Newark, as well as anybody who has been killed in the last few days in violence that I think has been senseless."

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