Lawrence Hamm, chairman of the People’s Organization For Progress, speaks to a Montclair Police Department officer before setting out on a 67-mile march to Trenton with the group. (SHANE PAUL NEIL/FOR MONTCLAIR LOCAL)

Members of several activist organizations began their march from Church Street and Bloomfield Avenue in Montclair to Trenton Friday — seeking support for police accountability measures and a slate of progressive policies.

The March To Trenton For Police Accountability, Social Justice, And Economic Progress was pushed up from an originally expected start date of Oct. 11 to Friday, Oct. 8, to give marchers more time to make their journey and deal with any bad weather or possibly emergencies, Lawrence Hamm, chairman of People’s Organization For Progress. The group was the lead organizer for the event.

Marchers expected to make their way through 22 towns on a route 67 miles long before completing their trek at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 16 at the State House.

“We are walking from Montclair to Trenton to highlight the issue of police brutality and to demand the NJ Legislature pass legislation to hold police accountable,” Hamm, who planned to walk the entire distance, said in an announcement of the event.

He said marchers were primarily demanding passage of a bill to create civilian police review boards with subpoena power. The bill remained in committee in the state Assembly as of June, and hasn’t moved in the state Senate since being introduced last year.

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Marchers also supported other legislation aimed at overseeing or restraining practices by law enforcement — to make officer disciplinary records public, to criminalize the use of chokeholds by police, to establish requirements for the use of deadly force and to end  qualified immunity in New Jersey. They wanted Gov. Phil Murphy to veto a bill that lets police view bodycam footage before issuing their reports.

And marchers were seeking support for the federal George Floyd Justice In Policing Act, which addresses a wide range of police practices, including some of the same ones addressed by the New Jersey legislation.

Hamm also said marchers demanded passage of state and federal legislation to create slavery reparations study commissions at the state and national levels, passage of voting rights legislation, a $15 federal million wage and legislation to facilitate worker unionization.

— Louis C. Hochman

Lawrence Hamm, chairman of the People’s Organization For Progress, says marchers were taking a 67-mile trek from Montclair to Trenton to advance several progressive causes — including police accountability. (SHANE PAUL NEIL/FOR MONTCLAIR LOCAL)
Bennet D, Zurofsky leads the Solidarity Singers of the New Jersey Industrial Union Council and others in song before the March To Trenton For Police Accountability, Social Justice, And Economic Progress. (SHANE PAUL NEIL/FOR MONTCLAIR LOCAL)
The March To Trenton For Police Accountability, Social Justice, And Economic Progress was pushed up from an originally expected start date of Oct. 11 to Friday, Oct. 8, to give marchers more time to make their journey and deal with any bad weather or possibly emergencies. (SHANE PAUL NEIL/FOR MONTCLAIR LOCAL)
“There are a lot of people who can’t march today but we’re marching on behalf of those who can’t. There are a lot of people who can’t speak up. We’re marching on behalf of those,” Steven L. Young, president of the Atlantic City chapter of the National Action Network, said at the March To Trenton For Police Accountability, Social Justice, And Economic Progress (SHANE PAUL NEIL/FOR MONTCLAIR LOCAL)
Participants in the March To Trenton For Police Accountability, Social Justice, And Economic Progress display their signs on Bloomfield Avenue as drivers by honk in support. (SHANE PAUL NEIL/FOR MONTCLAIR LOCAL)
The Newark Police Citizen/Clergy Patrol helps escort marchers down Bloomfield Avenue for the March To Trenton For Police Accountability, Social Justice, And Economic Progress. (SHANE PAUL NEIL/FOR MONTCLAIR LOCAL)
Totaling 67 miles, the March To Trenton For Police Accountability, Social Justice, And Economic Progress is expected to take a just over a week, with participants arriving in Trenton on Oct. 16. (SHANE PAUL NEIL/FOR MONTCLAIR LOCAL)
A in increase in the New Jersey’s minimum wage is one of a myriad of demands put forth by those participating in the March To Trenton For Police Accountability, Social Justice, And Economic Progress. Other demands include passage of legislation to create civilian complaint review boards with the power to subpoena and the passage of the George Floyd Justice In Policing Act (SHANE PAUL NEIL/FOR MONTCLAIR LOCAL)
Abdul Malik Muhammad, the stepfather of Carl Dorsey, who was fatally shot by a Newark police officer in on New Year’s Day, also speaks to participants in the March To Trenton For Police Accountability, Social Justice, And Economic Progress. “He had a family who loved him and depended on him,” Muhammad said. “That’s why we want justice for Carl Dorsey.” (SHANE PAUL NEIL/FOR MONTCLAIR LOCAL)
Valerie Cobbertt, sister of Gulia Dale, who was shot by Newton NJ police on July 4 of this year, addresses the crowd. “My brother suffered from post traumatic stress disorder. His wife called for help but instead he was murdered in front of his wife and children,” she said. The shooting remains under investigation by the state Attorney General’s office, which has not disclosed what prompted the shooting according to multiple reports. (SHANE PAUL NEIL/FOR MONTCLAIR LOCAL)
Lawrence Hamm, chairman of the People’s Organization for Progress, addresses the crowd just before the March To Trenton For Police Accountability, Social Justice, And Economic Progress.
“In the 39-year history of the People’s Organization for Progress, we have never undertaken a march of this duration or this length, but we have never seen the conditions that are facing people today. We are marching today for police accountability, for social justice, and economic progress,” he said. (SHANE PAUL NEIL/FOR MONTCLAIR LOCAL)