Peaceful Camden protest highlights Garner, Brown deaths
The marchers gathered by the steps of the Camden County Police Department, many holding signs. "Don't Shoot," "Camden Can't Breathe," the signs read. In front of the group of nearly 25, most of them city residents, an empty gray casket lay on the ground.
The marchers gathered by the steps of the Camden County Police Department, many holding signs.
"Don't Shoot," "Camden Can't Breathe," the signs read. In front of the group of nearly 25, most of them city residents, an empty gray casket lay on the ground.
Six men picked up the casket and walked it down Haddon Avenue, turning left toward the federal courthouse. Police cruisers blocked traffic at intersections as the marchers crossed.
The peaceful gathering Thursday, which ended at City Hall, was meant to protest the police-involved deaths of black men in Missouri and New York, but also to focus on police actions in Camden.
The march was organized by community activists Gary Frazier Jr. and Amir Khan, a former Camden mayoral candidate.
Among the concerns raised were that Camden County police officers have been stopping residents for petty offenses.
Mark Fisher, 60, a lifelong Camden resident, said police pulled him over in East Camden several months ago for issues with his brake lights. The officers were polite and gave him a warning, he said, but the stop concerned him.
"I pay taxes here," he said. "I should be able to drive my car without harassment."
Sahar Soleymani, 21, who lives in an addiction-recovery house in Camden, said she was concerned by how some officers interacted with residents.
"They don't want to hear what we have to say," she said. "They kind of push us around."
Camden County police did not comment on the march but had officers stationed around City Hall to keep an eye on things.
Protests have been held around the nation since grand juries in New York City and Ferguson, Mo., declined to formally charge two white police officers in the deaths of two black men: Eric Garner, who died in an apparent choke hold, and Michael Brown, who was shot.
On Friday morning, the group Camden Churches Organized for People will hold a "die-in" on the steps of the federal courthouse to protest the deaths of Garner and Brown.