NEWARK, NJ — During the People’s Organization for Progress’s 40th consecutive Justice Monday protest rally in Newark, Chairman Larry Hamm was quick to admit the shooting death of Earl Faison was more relevant than ever, thanks in part to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s decision to launch her own independent civil rights investigation into the death of Eric Garner at the hands of a New York police officer who applied the fatal, illegal chokehold to him on a Staten Island street corner in 2014.
Faison, who was wrongly arrested by members of the Orange Police Department in connection with the shooting death of Officer Joyce Carnegie, died while in police custody in 1999; the five officers involved in Faison’s death were indicted and eventually sent to jail in 2004. While Hamm mourned Faison’s death, he praised the resolution of the case and considered it an example of justice.
“To be truthful, I’m not putting too much hope in the Justice Department, because the record is not great in bringing charges against these officers,” said Hamm on Tuesday, Nov. 1. “The one outstanding exception was the Earl Faison case in Orange, where five officers got indicted and eventually went to jail. They handled that case relatively well. We consider that case to still be open, because they didn’t charge those officers with murder.”
The five Orange police officers indicted and jailed for Faison’s death were found guilty of conspiracy and civil rights violations.
“The conspiracy was them trying to cover it up, and the civil rights violation was the torture,” said Hamm. “They tortured that man. Overall, the record is not good on law enforcement bringing charges against police officers. The state of New Jersey never even launched an investigation. They closed the case. Had it not been for the feds, there would not have been even a modicum of justice for Earl Faison.”
Conversely, U.S. Attorney General for New Jersey Paul Fishman recently decided not to launch a civil rights investigation into one of P.O.P’s signature issues, the police-involved shooting death of Jerome Reid in Bridgeton on Dec. 30, 2014.
“Lynch is launching another investigation into Eric Garner and sending in her team from the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department,” Hamm said Monday, Oct. 31. “I think that gives us just a little more ground to stand on, in terms of demanding that she do the same thing for Jerome Reid. We sent a letter to the U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch expressing our complete dissatisfaction with the decision by the U.S. Attorney for New Jersey Paul Fishman not to bring charges against the officers in the Jerome Reid shooting. We cannot accept the decision by the U.S. attorney for New Jersey not to bring charges against the officer, Braheme Day, that killed him.”