With a saddened heart, we are once again writing about the brutal death of a young Black man, and this time, by the local Paterson Police Department. Despite the announcement of a statewide initiative to address mental health crises through the ARRIVE Together program, local police officers disregarded community efforts to de-escalate a mental health crisis of a well-known community leader. Their failure to prioritize community intervention resulted in the use of deadly force.
There is no excuse, words, or thoughts to express how infuriating and frustrating it is to see the deadly abuse of power by police continue at such a high rate. When will it be enough or the right time to make the police accountable for their actions against Black and Brown communities? It is time to end police brutality and implement community-centered public safety and mental health interventions.
A man in distress is not a call for police to react by shooting to kill as a form of defense. We have to work in unity and not as individuals in distress situations. Najee was part of a community ready to make changes for the better.