By Cherri Gregg
CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) — Scores of protesters rallied today outside Camden City Hall to support the people of Ferguson, Mo., following the death of teenager Michael Brown, who was shot by a police officer.
But Camden residents also wanted to make sure there are no Mike Brown-type incidents in their city.
The protests were familiar:
“Hands Up, don’t shoot,” they shouted, a rallying cry to end excessive police force.
“After Rodney King you thought that it would decrease,” said union worker George Jackson, a lifelong resident of Camden and a member of the Communication Workers of America, which organized the rally. “Then after Trayvon Martin. And now Michael Brown.”
Jackson said those in attendance want to make sure their city doesn’t become the next Ferguson.
“I think people are ready to explode,” he told KYW Newsradio. “Peaceful marches like this, I think, can help, but to me the only way it will change is legislation.”
He thinks laws should require that police wear body cameras and live in the cities they patrol.
But Camden city councilman Brian Coleman says the local police are already doing a good job.
“We have a close relationship with our Camden County metro police,” Coleman says. In the 18 months since the Camden County Metro Police were constituted, replacing the city police department, he says, they have reached out to the community, including in his ward.
“I think that they are moving in the right direction, embracing the community, and having the community embracing them,” Coleman said.
But folks like Jackson aren’t convinced just yet.