"What is this? Mississippi, 1955? Black people can't even get to the precinct?"
Lawrence Hamm, state chairman of the New Jersey-based People's Organization for Progress, was angered nearly to tears in front of Newark's 5th Precinct. Well-liked neighborhood resident Basire Farrell had been stopped by police near at the intersection of Clinton Place and Tillinghast Street. According to eyewitnesses, the police had Farrell in handcuffs, yet continued to hit and kick him, apparently beating the 30 year-old young man to death (see the Newark Star Ledger report here).
This was not POP's first march to this particular Precinct House, the home base of at least two similar cases in the past year. As POP chairman Larry Hamm noted, "I don't care whether people do it in white sheets or a blue uniform, it sounds like a lynching to me."
This question about Mississippi-style white "justice" in Newark becomes especially significant with Newark's young "post-racial" mayor Cory Booker in office. The instances and incidences of police violence against the citizenry has increased since Mayor Booker took office.
In fact, it is not that long ago that Mayor Booker proudly proclaimed to TV-networks and print media alike that the kind of police "over-reaction" that led the street rebellion that he describes as the "1967 Riot" are behind us. Attacks like the murder of Basire Farrell, not more than a few blocks from the mayor's residence, put the lie to that claim.
Justice for Basire Farrell, and all victims of police brutality!