A roadside memorial appeared Sunday on Orient Avenue and Martin Luther King Drive in Jersey City, New Jersey after Rookie Police Officer Melvin Santiago was killed by Lawrence Campbell. Campbell was shot by other officers on the scene and killed as well.
The Sidewalk Memorial contains the usual items that one might find, such as balloons, cards, letters, and candles. However, one set of items stands out. Two white t-shirts are affixed to a brick wall and upon each is scribbled notes from the neighborhood residents saying, “Thug in Peace” and “See u on the other side”, each written to Lawrence Campbell, and not Officer Santiago.
Few residents would speak to the nature of the memorial. However, Barbara Jones, a neighbor of Campbell went on record to say that:
“He was a good man. He looked out for everybody on the block.”
Campbell’s Widow, Angelique, was not so reflective in her comments as she proclaimed her sorrow for Officer Santiago’s family, followed by a statement that Lawrence Campbell should have shot and killed more officers. Jersey City Police Director, James Shea, stated responded to the comments form Ms. Campbell by saying:
“I firmly believe that the people who made the ignorant comments on the TV and the people who put up a memorial to a cowardly murderer who shot somebody in the head without giving him a chance are not representative of the people who live up there. “We know that because our officers interact with them every day. There is a minority of criminals that makes their job dangerous, but there is a large population up there that they are proud to serve.”
A movement to remove the sidewalk memorial was suggested by Officer Carmine Disbrow and Sgt. Robert Kearns, of the two Jersey City Unions stated the following in a statement:
“A cold blooded murdering coward made a decision as to how he wanted to be remembered posthumously, but unfortunately Patrolman Santiago did not get to make such a choice. The choices that Patrolman Santiago made, to take care of his family, serve his community and do his bit to make Jersey City a better place were taken from him.”
Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop was a bit more optimistic in his statement:
“There are people in every single community who just don’t value life and this is highlighted by a situation like this. There’s a lot of reasons for that — some of it is decades of how they perceive police, some it’s jobs, some of it is socioeconomics — but at the end of the day, we’re dealing with it today.”
Photo Courtesy: Yahoo News