“As we continue to build trust between police and community in the City of Newark, the false narrative of the incident Tuesday afternoon between our officers and three residents during an attempted gun arrest undermines those efforts, stoking fear in our officers that they are dealing with a hostile community, and sending an implicit message to the community that our police are fair game.
“First, let’s separate fact from fiction.
“While it is true two men tried to interfere in the arrest, our officers were not ‘pummeled to the ground and kicked in the head’ as one source, who was never at the scene, relayed to the press. Equally, the headlines that said police were attacked by a ‘mob’ were patently false and sensational.
“Second, while this incident is still under investigation by the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, body camera footage from the police struggling to handcuff the suspect while showing great restraint themselves, was nowhere near the level of violence described in the press. In fact, none of the suspects were injured.
“Third, while a small group of people gathered, they in no way attacked the police. In truth, when I arrived at the scene, the uninvolved witnesses were helpful, respectful, and seemed to side with the police.
“Finally, the source in the news story insinuates my administration does not support the police by suggesting I ‘demand’ an investigation by the prosecutor’s office. Had the source come to the scene, he would have known the prosecutor’s office detectives were already there. It also should be noted that in support of the police, and to monitor the situation, I dispatched members of our DPW and Code Enforcement teams in the area to meet me at the scene, not as a force, but as community ambassadors to keep things calm.
“One further truth about the incident is that the two men who interfered with the arrest, voluntarily turned themselves in, evidence that, despite their actions, they know they acted irresponsibly and put themselves, the police, and their community in danger.
“The false narrative put forth feeds the old and archaic thinking that police are an occupying force, always in danger from a hostile community, rather than goodwill guardians of a community that has a growing respect and cooperation with one another. That is what we are building in Newark, truth be told.”
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