New Brunswick Joins Ongoing Ferguson Protests
On Sunday Nov. 30, Kenny Britt emerged from the St. Louis Rams’ field tunnel with his hands raised in the air, as though he was under arrest. The rest of the Rams’ receiving corps mimicked Britt’s actions as they exited the tunnel as well.
“Kenny Britt told me he was doing it, and some of the other guys were doing it,” Rams Wide Receiver Jared Cook said in an interview with the St. Louis Dispatch. “So we all just hopped on the bandwagon and came up with the idea of how we were going to do it.”
Britt had said to reporters that “We just wanted to let the (Ferguson) community know that we support them. I don’t want the people in the community to feel like we turned a blind eye to it. What would I like to see happen? Change in America.”
Britt’s actions are part of the country-wide protests surrounding Ferguson and the death of Michael Brown.
At Britt’s alma mater Rutgers University, protesters had also held a demonstration during the Thanksgiving holidays.
According to New Brunswick Today, “city officials estimated roughly 400 protesters assembled outside of the Douglass Campus Center, marching to the steps of Brower Commons. Event organizers say the number of protesters was closer to 500”.
The protests across the country could be seen as growing frustration towards the increasing number of publicized police brutality cases.
“Police brutality did not start in August when Ferguson happened,” said Ezra Sholom, a Rutgers student and organizer for the People’s Coalition Against Police Brutality. “We can no longer stand idly by while the police murder unarmed citizens.”
Kalia Boulware, a student organizer, gave examples of cases of police brutality in New Brunswick.
According to the Daily Targum, “New Brunswick police officer James Consalvo shot New Brunswick resident Carolyn Adams to death in 1996, she said. In 2011, New Brunswick police officer Brad Berdel resigned after shooting and killing unarmed New Brunswick resident Barry Deloatch.”
“These instances don’t only happen elsewhere in the nation, but in New Brunswick,” said Boulware to the Daily Targum. “We need to keep this in mind every day.”
Britt’s on-field actions echo the demonstrations in support of making the police accountable for their actions and policies.
However, the St. Louis Police Officers Association were looking for an apology from the Rams for Britt’s and the receiving corps’ actions.
In a statement released by the SLPOA, they say that they were “profoundly disappointed with the members of the St. Louis Rams football team who chose to ignore the mountains of evidence released from the St. Louis County Grand Jury this week and engage in a display that police officers around the nation found tasteless, offensive and inflammatory.”
SLPOA Business Manager Jeff Roorda said that the Rams’ and NFL’s reactions towards the protest were “remarkably hypocritical” and that the SLPOA is “calling for the players involved to be disciplined and for the Rams and the NFL to deliver a very public apology.”
As of today, Britt and the receiving corps have not received any discipline for their actions last Sunday.
In addition, Officer Darren Wilson, the officer who shot Michael Brown, had resigned from the Ferguson Police Department last Saturday and had since received multiple death threats and had his personal information published online.