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FR&A Photo Gallery: Hundreds Rally For Racial Justice At Police HQ, Director Expresses Solidarity

Protestors hold up their signs during a rally before the march to the police station.

Hundreds of people marched up DeMott Lane June 4 in a continuing protest against police brutality and for racial justice.

The march, as was the one earlier in the week in Franklin and others ocurring around the world, was spurred by the killing of Minneapolis resident George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer. The officer, and three others, have been fires and charged with crimes ranging from murder to aiding and abetting a murder.

Organized by Franklin High School alum Jordan Brown, the march began at Middlebush Park. After a speech by Brown that was part instructional and part rallying cry, the group marched up DeMott to police headquarters in the municipal building.

Once at the police HQ, the group chanted, heard more speeches and then “took a knee” for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, the amount of time the Minneapolis cop was shown on video pressing his knee against Floyd’s neck, killing him.

Although they were asked to, the Franklin PD representatives at the march – including Public Safety Director Quovella M. Spruill – did not do so.

In explaining why later in the evening, on Mayor Phil Kramer’s virtual Town Hall, Spruill said that doing so would be “hypocritical.”

“Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the National anthem in protest of the injustices that occurred in our nation to black and brown individuals,” she said. “A white uniformed police officer took a knee and took a life and murdered George Floyd before the nation. I think it’s hypocritical to now say it’s ok for us to take a knee.”

“The image of those officers killing an unarmed black man, that’s not the image I want our officers to portray,” she said. “I understand the (emotion), but what are those cops going to do when they stand up, that’s what I want to know.”

“It’s symbolic, it doesn’t do anything for us,” she said. “I’m insulted by it. Kaepernick took a knee and he couldn’t get a job. We have work to do, and I want to do that job.”

In a press release issued after the protest, Spruill said, “Words are not enough. We must work toward true reform through the federal, state and local levels.”

“The only way to make real change is to get lawmakers involved including:  transparency, prohibiting officers from working after sustained excessive force, assault, perjury or other misconduct charges; accountability, national standards on use of force, and practices, prohibiting chokeholds and other maneuvers which restrict blood flow or the ability to breathe,” she said in the release.  “The New Jersey Office of the Attorney General has strict policies and guidelines regarding the use of force and officer accountability. Laws and guidelines such as these must be adopted nationwide for true change to occur.”

“We recognize and stand with you to correct the issues that plague our nation,” she said in the release.

Following is a photo gallery of the march:

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