Camden police credit peaceful protests to restored community engagement, trust

CAMDEN, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — While looters have taken advantage of protests and left a path of destruction in cities across the country, like Philadelphia, it’s played out differently across the river. 

You won’t find any broken glass along Broadway in Camden, because protests over the death of Minneapolis black man George Floyd — by the knee of a white officer — have remained relatively peaceful. 

Like many, Camden business owner Yolanda Deaver was outraged by Floyd’s death, and she wanted to raise her voice. She organized the weekend protests and joined thousands of others who felt the same way — including police officers.

“One of my followers is in fact a Camden police officer and she called me and was like, ‘I feel the same way you do. Do you mind if I march with you? Can I march? Can the police march?’ And I was like, of course,” she said. “It’s pretty powerful, and I’m glad that they took the initiative to say we feel the same way as the people do.”

Civilians and officers flashed each other peace signs all weekend during the peaceful protests. Some people have called for other cities to adopt Camden’s use-of-force and de-escalation policies.

“They’re really taking a lot of pride in what we did as an agency in response to the protest,” said Wysocki. “The officers are very proud about how we handled the situation.”

Wysocki still feels haunted by the video of Floyd’s death.

“It’s bothered every one of our officers,” he added. “I think it bothers every cop in the country — every good cop. 

“That’s not who cops are.”