The police chief and several officers in the municipality rated the most violent in New Jersey walked with protesters Saturday to show "together we are stronger" amid riots in many major cities sparked by the death of a suspect in police custody in Minneapolis.
Camden County Police Chief Joe Wysocki walked in uniform, and facial mask, raising his right fist and helping hold a banner that read "Standing in Solidarity."
The event was one of a handful of similar demonstrations across the United States in places such as Oklahoma City; Louisville, Kentucky; Flint, Michigan; and Fargo, North Dakota, Fox News reported, that contrasted with the riots in several cities that have experienced shootings, the burning of cars and buildings, and vandalism.
"We know that together we are stronger, we know that together, in the city of Camden, we can create a space where policing is focused on de-escalation and dialogue," Wysocki said in an emailed statement to The Associated Press.
Although only the 13th largest municipality in New Jersey with a population of about 74,000, Camden – located directly across the Delaware River from Philadelphia – was rated the most violent in the state by regional radio network NJ101.5, citing 2018 FBI statistics of most violent crime offenses.
The city's police force was disbanded in 2013 and reformed as a county agency.
The Camden march and other protests follow the May 25 death of George Floyd, 46, in police custody on Memorial Day. Floyd was arrested for trying to use a counterfeit $20 bill and video showed a white officer restraining him prone with his knee on his neck. He later died.
Violent protests erupted in Minneapolis and spread throughout other major cities. The officer who is seen in a widely circulated video with his knee on Floyd's neck has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. He was fired along with three other officers involved in Floyd's arrest.
Preliminary autopsy results released Friday made no mention of strangulation but attributed Floyd's death to a combination of being restrained, potential intoxicants in Floyd's system and his underlying health issues, including heart disease.
An autopsy commissioned for George Floyd's family found he died of asphyxiation due to neck and back compression, the family's attorneys said Monday.
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