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Township Pastors To State AG: Fire Bridgewater Cops For Mall Scuffle Actions

The Rev. Danté Quick was joined by FBCLG Pastor Emeritus the Rev. DeForest Soaries in calling on the acting state Attorney General to have the two Bridgewater police officers fired.

The current and former pastors of First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens on Somerset Street have added their voices to those calling for the dismissal of two Bridgewater police officers for their actions in responding to a fight between a white and Black youth at the Bridgewater Commons mall.

A portion of the February 13 fight, and the actions take by the two Bridgewater police officers, are captured on a video that has gone viral over the past several days.

The Rev. Danté R. Quick, senior pastor of the church, and the Rev. DeForest B. Soaries, the church’s pastor emeritus, penned a letter on February 17 to acting state Attorney General Matthew Platkin, asking him to have the two officers fired from the department.

The video, which has attracted national attention, shows a Black youth and a white youth fighting when the two officers arrive. The white youth, who was on top of the other youth, is pulled off of him by one officer and moved to a couch to have a seat. The Black youth is dragged by the second officer, using a grip around his neck, face down on the floor. The second officer places her knee high on his back while he is being handcuffed.

In their letter, the two pastors ask, “in an era defined by George Floyd, why would any responsible officer of the law, with a partner, subduing a 14-year-old child, still feel the need to place her knee around his neck area?”

“Racial assumptions made by the officers produced actions that bypassed the non-Black children involved in the melee,” the pastors write. “Such cannot serve the purposes of justice!”

The incident, the pastors write, “demands a swift and unequivocal demonstration that you and our state take the meaning of ‘liberty and justice for all’ with the utmost seriousness! Such would be the ultimate show of support and respect to the vast majority of our law enforcement officers who execute their public duties with equity, fidelity and thoughtfulness.”

The pastors write that they hope Platkin will “act as a corrective agent to ensure the safety of every citizen of New Jersey by insisting on the termination of these officers and conducting a state review of policies and procedures within this department.”

Both boys were banned from the mall for three years.

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