Rezoning Racial Boundaries
"How can the police police the police? If they can shoot down our kids, who are mostly black and Latino, and walk away without anything happening to them, then what's being done?" – Amiri Baraka
The deaths of Bilal Colbert and DeFarra Gaymon--two African American men killed by police for being in the wrong place at the wrong time--led to new calls for police reform.
On April 30, 2011, 29-year old Colbert was killed by an Irvington detective while buying snacks for his girlfriend’s two daughters. This incident occurred on the corner of 22nd Street and 18th Avenue, in a “drug-infested” neighborhood targeted by police.
The Essex County Sheriff's office, in response to complaints from locals, established a “sting” task force to arrest men engaged in sexual activities within Newark’s Branch Brook Park. In July of 2010, 48-year old DeFarra Gaymon was shot and killed by a plainclothes detective while walking through the park. As a man alone in the park, Gaymon was immediately suspected of engaging in illegal activities.
Community groups, such as Fathers Against Drugs and the People’s Organization for Progress, formed in response to individual incidents involving police and citizens of Newark, while other statewide organizations joined the fight.