TOMS RIVER, NJ – Ocean County Sheriff Michael Mastronardy and Prosector Bradley Bilhimer have announced solidarity in support of George Floyd, a black man killed by Minneapolis Police last week. Floyd’s death sparked outrage nationwide which led to protests and eventually looting and riots.
“As we continue to watch the events unfold in Minneapolis with the senseless killing of George Floyd by law enforcement, we send our thoughts and prayers to his family during this very difficult time. Our office led by Sheriff Michael Mastronardy are angered and saddened by the video of this horrible crime,” Mastronardy said. “No officers under our roof condone this conduct or would allow this to go on. We are trained to save lives, not take them. We want the public to know in NO WAY does this act represent who we are and what we stand for. We believe in treating EVERYONE fairly and Justice for ALL. God Speed George Floyd.”
“The images of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis are deeply disturbing. Mr. Floyd’s death is being investigated not only by the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI in Minneapolis, but by the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights division, as it should be,” Billhimer said. “As county prosecutors entrusted with the solemn responsibility of acting as the chief law enforcement officer in our respective counties, we recognize that so much of law enforcement’s relationship with the community is built upon trust. We trust the members of our community to follow the law and cooperate with our efforts to enforce it; our community has the right to trust that they will be treated fairly and justly by the officers who serve them.”
Billhimer said in New Jersey, the law enforcement community is fortunate to have developed a positive relationship with our residents. Our police officers and state troopers routinely conduct themselves with the utmost professionalism and respect for the members of the communities they serve. This has been particularly apparent over the past few months as our officers have managed the added responsibility of enforcing significant restrictions on our normal activities with sensitivity to the stress that our residents are experiencing in the midst of this public health crisis.
“We believe that New Jersey is home to some of the finest law enforcement officers in the country,” Billhimer said. “The County Prosecutors Association of New Jersey is committed to ensuring that members of our local, county and state police forces provide fair treatment and justice to all our residents. Anyone who believes they have been victimized by a member of law enforcement as a result of bias or other improper behavior is encouraged to take the matter up with that officer’s chief, or contact their County Prosecutor’s Office directly so their complaint can be thoroughly investigated.”
Billhimer said in New Jersey, we are privileged to have the leadership of New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, who just this past fall issued a comprehensive package of policy initiatives designed to reinforce and clarify the Garden State’s commitment to excellence in policing. These statewide reforms are intended to promote the culture of professionalism, accountability and transparency that are hallmarks of New Jersey’s best law enforcement agencies. Through Attorney General Grewal’s “Excellence in Policing Initiative,” the state is building a national model for strengthening accountability and trust between law enforcement officers and the communities they serve.