BRIDGETON — Local authorities said they charged four people with walking in traffic while they marched to City Council’s meeting Tuesday night to again protest the fatal shooting of Jerame C. Reid.
The four people — including protest organizer Walter Hudson — were cited after authorities used loudspeakers to warn them about staying on city sidewalks for safety reasons, said Capt. Michael Gaimari of the Police Department here.
Gaimari said he personally told Hudson before the march about the “statutory requirements to remain on the sidewalks … especially along Route 49 due to the heavy volume of rush hour traffic.”
Hudson, who chairs the Salem County-based National Awareness Alliance, called the citations “a clear retaliation tactic from Bridgeton police in efforts to deter us from exercising our constitutional right to assemble in peaceful protest.”
“Now I think the people of Bridgeton see why Jerame Reid was executed the night of Dec. 30, 2014,” Hudson said. “There is a rogue and aggressive police culture in Bridgeton. We intend to bring it to light. I want the mayor and the rest of the power structure to know we are not going anywhere.”
Those charged along with Hudson, 34, of State Street in Penns Grove, were Melissa Byrne, 36, of Myrtle Street in Vineland; Lawrence Hamm, 61, of Madison Avenue in Montclair; and Kyle M. Moore, 24, of Cinnaminson.
Each of those charged face a fine of up to $54, Gaimari said. They are scheduled to appear in Municipal Court here on Feb. 17, he said.
Reid, 36, of the Seabrook section of Upper Deerfield Township, was fatally shot following a traffic stop at Henry Street and South Avenue the evening of Dec. 30.
Law enforcement officials said Officers Braheme Days and Roger Worley discharged their service weapons after a handgun was “revealed” and then “recovered.”
The use-of-deadly-force incident is being investigated by the Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office. The investigation is required under state Attorney General’s Office guidelines.
Hudson has organized and led other protests regarding Reid’s death. That included a march on City Council’s meeting last month.
Reid set the number of protesters who marched from Henry Street and South Avenue to the Municipal Court-Police Department complex on Fayette Street on Tuesday at 50. Police set the number of marchers at about 35.
Gaimari said the march temporarily blocked traffic on South Avenue as protesters walked in the roadway. He said the majority of those involved in the march used sidewalks once they reached the intersection of Routes 49 and 77, he said.
“In addition to the initial warning (issued to Hudson,) officers utilized their patrol car loudspeakers to advise the marchers to utilize the sidewalks and that they were in violation if they did not,” Gaimari said. “Less than a handful of the … marchers openly defied the requests and the requirement.”
Those marchers deemed in violation of the law were issued summonses when they arrived at the Municipal Court-Police Department complex, Gaimari said.
“We respect anyone’s right to protest and march, but we are obliged to enforce the laws to protect them and those that are operating motor vehicles on the city’s roadways,” Gaimari said.
Hudson called the march “peaceful.”
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