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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Plainfield youth shot to death on anniversary of MLK assassination

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., speaking at
St. Peter's College in Jersey City, 1965.

17-year-old Plainfield resident Kassim Hayes was shot and killed in the 600-block of West 4th Street at about 4:00 AM Tuesday. April 4th was the 49th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

Mayor Adrian O. Mapp issued a statement on the shooting early Tuesday afternoon --

Every human life is precious and irreplaceable. It strikes me to my core every time I hear that life is taken here in Plainfield. The police are investigating the most recent shooting, and I am unable to comment with details as it is an active and ongoing investigation. However, over the past several years our law enforcement officers have been working tirelessly; there have been increased patrols, increased community policing, more surveillance cameras on the streets, and we have installed lighting all over the City. We have also partnered with outside law enforcement agencies for added manpower and resources. Violent crime is down by 30% since 2013. But, the unfortunate fact is that law enforcement cannot be everywhere, all the time

Our residents need and deserve peace of mind, and that is why we are vigorously pursuing short and long term solutions, which involve education, recreation, job creation and some out of the box thinking. We also need our community to mobilize and join us to take a stand against crime. If every single resident in Plainfield got involved, we would drive crime from our streets. Crime cannot thrive when decent, law abiding citizens unite against it.
I love this City, I am dedicated, and will continue to fight for it, one life at a time.
Mayor Mapp has shown the leadership we need on gun violence, by mobilizing our police resources (and supplementing them with county and state officers), expanding ShotSpotter, camera surveillance and gun reduction efforts.

The Mayor also understands that we must have a long-term strategy for jobs and education for our young people in order to break the cycle which holds so many of them back.

The fact that another Plainfield life was taken on the anniversary of losing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. reminds me of the contrast between that time and the present day.

Dr. King had a vision for ending injustice. He espoused a tactic (mass nonviolent resistance) and preached in a way that stirred folks' souls -- Black and white alike, clergy and layfolk together -- to step up to the plate and make change happen.

Sadly, most of the clergy do not provide the kind of leadership in our day, in our community, that Dr. King represented.

How have we come to this state of affairs?

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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