TOMS RIVER, NJ – Toms River Police Chief Mitch Little, police officers and elected officials walked in solidarity with Black Lives Matter protesters in a march from the Kohl’s shopping plaza to downtown Toms River. The march was organized by Katrina Garcia in conjunction with the Toms River Police Department, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office and Action Together New Jersey, a politically progressive with close ties to Governor Phil Murphy and his administration.
The march down Main Street in Toms River was filled with chants of “Black lives matter” and “Hands up, don’t shoot.”
“Anytime there’s a gathering, anyone can show up,” Chief Little said of the possibility of the protest turning like many others. “We can’t control that. This started as a simple Facebook post from Katrina, so anyone else who sees that can come.”
Little said the members of the Toms River community instead came together for solidarity. The event was contained to the march, speeches at the courthouse and then protesters were bussed back to the Kohl’s parking lot.
“I’m proud to be able to use my platform to bring attention to a problem that has been going on for too long for many generations,” Garcia said. “Systematic racism against black lives should be an embarrassment to the human race. These problems are not created by the black community but they have to face it every day with the ignorance of those uneducated.”
Toms River Democrat Councilman Terrance Turnbach, Little, and other police officers ended the rally by taking a knee in solidarity with the protesters.
The Asbury Park Press was live with the protest and shared on the Toms River Police Department Facebook page.