Echoing a sentiment frequently shared around the nation, Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly (D-Bergen, Passaic) expressed personal concern for his sons’ safety Wednesday during testimony from Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal at an Assembly FY20 budget hearing.
Inquiring as to whether progress is being made with community policing, specifically citing police-related shootings that prompted legislation earlier this year mandating that the attorney general’s office investigate and prosecute crimes involving deaths in police custody, Wimberly said:
“The community concern is probably the bigger issue. It’s not questioning polic or being anti-police, but the concerns of the community have to play a factor in this. They just feel like there is a safer way that they get full disclosure on this.
“Unfortunately, this is a not New Jersey issue; this has become a national issue with men of color with police-related shootings. And as a father of four young men that are black, and three that drive, it’s a major concern. I shouldn’t have to be worried if somebody’s driving in a certain neighborhood, or if they are going into a certain area.
“I shouldn’t have to teach them, or the NAACP shouldn’t have to teach them, what to do if you’re pulled over. I don’t think any other ethnic group has those types of things they have to do with their children, in particular, when they are pulled over by law enforcement.
“I hope we get to the point in New Jersey where we can lead the way; that we just don’t have that feel.”