VINELAND — About 20 people gathered near the intersection of West Wood Street and North West Boulevard on Sunday night to protest the death of Rashaun Washington, who was fatally shot by police Saturday.
Washington, 37, of Bridgeton, was identified Sunday by Cumberland County Prosecutor Jennifer Webb-McRae as the man police shot and killed.
By Sunday afternoon, a memorial with candles, crucifixes and blue and white balloons had been placed at the site where Washington was shot.
The people who gathered at the site Sunday evening protested peacefully, holding signs, praying and leading chants such as “enough is enough” and “justice for Rashaun.”
The protest was organized by Action Together New Jersey. Another is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday at the same location.
“This isn’t about attacking the police, this isn’t about politics, this is about a life that was lost when it shouldn’t have been,” said Josh Barreiro, a Vineland resident who helped organize the protest. “We’re here to make a statement that this needs to stop.”
At 11:22 a.m. Saturday, Vineland police responded to a home on West Wood Street for a report of a man “acting suspiciously” on the front porch, Webb-McRae said in a statement.
After several minutes, the man was fatally shot, the prosecutor said.
Authorities have not identified the officers involved and the investigation is being led by the Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office, which is standard under state law.
Ryonna Maven, who was driving in the area with her mother at the time of the shooting, took video of the incident.
Maven’s video shows the man walking toward police, K9s lunging forward and barking, before three gunshots ring out. The man is next seen lying on the ground.
“There is no reason one man with a water bottle (in his hand) should be dead right now,” said Shevone Torres, of Mount Holly, who is an activist with the New Jersey chapter of Black Lives Matter. “I’m tired, I’m angry and I’m frustrated. This should not be happening here. And the fact is that we’re in these smaller towns where cops think that because they don’t get the media attention, they can do whatever the hell they want to us.”
Maven said Saturday that Washington had nothing in his hands. On Sunday, the protesters said he had a water bottle in his hands.
Authorities have not confirmed whether Washington was holding anything.
Regardless, protesters said Sunday night they feel there was no reason for police to shoot Washington.
No members of the family attended the protest. Organizers said all the family members live in Camden.
“I would think (the police) should be trained to dial back and de-escalate the situation, but that didn’t happen here,” said Stu Mark, a protester who came to Vineland from Mays Landing. “This is a black lives matter issue and it needs to be dealt with.”
Staff writers Erin Serpico and Molly Bilinski contributed to this report.