TOMS RIVER – Police and protesters marched side by side in reaction to the murder of George Floyd, the Minneapolis man killed by police.
His death sparked protests – and riots – throughout the nation. Here in New Jersey, there have been peaceful protests, like in Freehold and looting like in Atlantic City.
In many of the more violent clashes that were reported, witnesses said that peaceful protests were disrupted by outside agitators.
In Toms River, police and the public joined together. There were prayers, discourse, and marching.
There were rumors early on that militant protestors would show up and damage property and go door to door attacking residents. These turned out to be only rumors – started by a white nationalist group trying to agitate emotions and foment a race war.
“We’re going to walk with these people. We’re going to support them,” Police Chief Mitch Little said.
He said he hoped that people from outside the community don’t come in and ruin the peaceful demonstration that local residents are trying to accomplish.
“We stand in solidarity with those that wish to protest peacefully,” Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer, who also marched Tuesday morning, said in a statement. “We are aware of rumors circulating on social media…and there is no evidence at this time to support those rumors. In collaboration with our law enforcement partners, we will be ready to handle any situation that may arise.”