An anti-violence rally in the city of Newark, New Jersey, itself turned violent when two groups of activists scuffled with each other.
There were 104 murders in the northern New Jersey city in the calendar year 2015; in 2014, homicides totaled 94.
Monday’s death of Tyquan Rogers, 20, the city’s 104th homicide victim last year, was one of three siblings who were killed by gun violence in the city of Newark.
Newark is the largest city in the state and the county seat of Essex County, the third most populous county in the Garden State.
“The upward trend in violence also included more gun battles among gang members in Newark… About 75 percent of homicides in the city are the result of turf wars between drug gangs,” Opposing Views claimed.
The anti-violence rally that apparently devolved into a political street feud between community activists occurred on Wednesday on the city hall steps after organizers called for a meeting with the Newark mayor to come up with a comprehensive solution to violence in the community.
“The noon press conference was called by a group of activists led by Salaam Ismial, co-chair of the New Jersey Study Commission on Violence, and Abdul Muhammad, a longtime Newark anti-violence activist. In a release announcing the event, the two said they planned to ask Mayor Ras Baraka to ‘unleash his quality of life plan in addressing ongoing violence facing Newark residents,'” NJ.com reported.
— Bill Wichert (@BillWichertNJ) December 30, 2015
Baraka supporters reportedly started heckling the rally organizers (see videos embedded below), which prompted pushing and shoving, and then things further escalated to the point where “a man from the crowd attacked Muhammad and forced him to the ground,” News12 New Jersey explained.
Evidently the physical altercation was brief and no one suffered any serious injuries in the fight.
— News12NJ (@News12NJ) December 31, 2015
Separately, to address the rampant violence there, Newark officials are in the process consolidating all public safety function under the chief of detectives for the Essex County prosecutor’s office. According to the mayor, this restructuring will streamline the crime-fighting bureaucracy and save the city about $500,000.
In the aftermath of the fight at the anti-violence rally, the mayor issued a statement that in part highlighted that Ismail lives in the nearby town of Elizabeth rather than Newark.
“It was…disheartening to learn that a former Newark municipal employee, Mr. Abdul Muhammad, was the instigator in a confrontation with another well-known Newark community activist and was allegedly pivotal in the ensuing melee…The actions of this Elizabeth-based group discredit the efforts of so many who are committed to speaking out against violence in the neighborhoods and streets of both cities.”
Apparently, the rally organizers did not obtain a permit for the event. Moreover, it’s unclear if police are investigating the assault at the anti-violence rally further.
Minister Thomas Ellis, the head of the Newark Enough is Enough Coalition and who appeared with the anti-violence rally organizers at the Wednesday city hall press conference, remarked after the event, “Today we stood on the steps of City Hall to show that black lives matter in Newark, and it turned out ugly.”
Newark Police on scene after fight breaks out during anti-violence rally at City Hall pic.twitter.com/U2dtGxEfSR
— Katie Kyros (@KatieKyros) December 30, 2015
Commenting on the violence at the Newark anti-violence rally, Ismail asserted, “For all intents and purposes, this hurt the possibility that Newark can have in addressing this problem once and for all. Until there’s some sense of a unified front among the leaders, there’s never going to be an impact on the people at large.”
Yesterday, Muhammad filed a criminal complaint at Newark Municipal Court against the man who allegedly assaulted him at the anti-violence rally the day before.
“Muhammad said he suffered a sprained knee, injured wrist and a profound sense of regret following the incident,” NJ.com added.
[Image via YouTube]