Dear Friends at UUCWC,
I imagine that many of you have been made aware that an unarmed 14-year-old black Trenton teen was shot this past weekend by local police. Radazz Hearns was shot 7 times while running away from officers on Friday. He is alive and in stable condition.
On Thursday night, four members of UUCWC joined in a community meeting held at Shiloh Baptist Church where Radazz’s mother, uncle, and attorney each spoke. There was a prayer for the family and for each who gathered in light of the events. Most everyone split into planning groups to identify specific actions that individuals and communities can take in the coming days and weeks to support Hearns’ family.
News from the Attorney General’s office is limited and this has, of course, added to the upset in Trenton. You may remember that when other states have experienced such tensions in the past year, transparency and quick accountability was essential to relieving some of the heartache and anger. I have attached the official statement from Congresswoman Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman on the matter.
The pulse of anger, fear and unrest continues in our country and it is not only in our backyard but it is in our home. 100 years ago our congregation began in Trenton and in this upcoming year we will celebrate those origins. What would our ancestors call us to do at a time like this? Would they recognize us, tucked away in beautiful bucolic Titusville?
Members of the Council for Faith in Action or I will keep you informed with the ways in which you can get involved as we learn more. In the meantime, I pray that the state responds to the cries of the people rapidly; that Radazz continues to strengthen and heal; and that we, too, continue to add our voices to those who weep with despair. Running from the police is not an executionable offense.
Blessings for health and wholeness to each of you,
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Courtney Cochran
August 13, 2015
WATSON COLEMAN STATEMENT ON AG INVESTIGATION OF RADAZZ HEARNS SHOOTING
Ewing, NJ (August 13, 2015) ― Today, Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12) issued the following statement on the New Jersey Attorney General’s office continuing investigation into Friday’s shooting of Radazz Hearns by New Jersey State Troopers and a Mercer County Sheriff’s Officer:
“It is tragic to see any young person injured by gunfire, so I am deeply relieved at reports that Radazz is in stable condition, and I pray for his speedy and full recovery. Moving forward, I am committed to uncovering the details of this shooting, and I look forward to facilitating conversations between law enforcement and our community to shed light on these events.
“Public safety is my primary and imminent concern; the public must have full confidence in the investigatory agencies that are tasked with uncovering the truth. I have been in communication with Attorney General Hoffman, Sherriff Kemler and Mayor Jackson. While they each have committed to and desire a thorough and transparent investigation, the lack of information to the public has resulted in public faith quickly eroding, requiring swift action to regain the confidence of the community. As such, I have requested a federal investigation so that the public can have additional independent assurances that we will find the truth. Moving forward we need to seek ways to prevent cases like these, but also ensure that when they do occur, the community has a voice in the process.
“Across the United States, a number of unexplained and unnecessary deaths precipitated by interactions with law enforcement over the past several months have shaken our nation’s trust in police and the criminal justice system. When these cases are addressed swiftly with transparency and decisiveness, as in the Cincinnati shooting of Samuel DuBose, we restore faith in the process. When there is no communication, the public frequently feels misled and we see the kind of disruption and violence witnessed in Ferguson or Baltimore. By giving the public a vested interest in maintaining the legitimacy of investigations like this one, we can work together to guarantee that objective justice remains our goal.”