Vigil to be held in Hillside to bring attention to social injustice in New Jersey

A vigil will be held in Hillside Thursday evening by those calling for more to be done to address the Black men and women who are being killed by gun violence and at the hands of police officers.

News 12 Staff

May 27, 2021, 2:52 AM

Updated 1,054 days ago

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A vigil will be held in Hillside Thursday evening by those calling for more to be done to address the Black men and women who are being killed by gun violence and at the hands of police officers.
Hillside leaders will hold the vigil to call for unity and to honor those lost to gun violence, especially during police interactions. The vigil also is to call attention to the issue of false race-based 911 calls. These calls are considered a form of discrimination. They are considered a third-degree crime in New Jersey.
“Due to the many harassed calls, where people in picnic areas, people sleeping in dormitories – we had the Starbucks incidents in Philadelphia – false incrimination,” says state Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly.
Assembly Bill A1906 has been a low in New Jersey for almost a year. Before that, there was a rise in these race-based 911 calls. Several making national headlines.
“The young man was a bird watcher and the lady walking her dog called the police on him and here is somebody who is mild-mannered, had no threat to her at all,” Wimberly says.
The assemblyman was referring to an incident in Central Park last year between a Black man and a white woman who falsely called police on the man. The incident sparked a conversation about race in the United States. Wimberly introduced the legislation last year in the hopes that it would give people pause before calling police for a non-emergency.
“I think people will have second thoughts before they pick up that phone and make that call, knowing that they could be a part of the criminal justice system by making a false call,” he says.
The law is designed to criminalize false race-based 911 calls, while also protecting protected classes.
There were several social justice bills that were introduced following the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. Wimberly says that there is still much work to be done, and that the state needs to move faster to make chances.


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