Bridgewater Incident Points to Need for Further Dialogue

February 25, 2022

BTDC Chair Elizabeth Graner wrote a letter to the editor about racial disparity in a recent incident at Bridgewater Commons

Dear Editor:

I would like to join elected officials and other citizens throughout Somerset County and say that I find the recent incident at Bridgewater Commons Mall both disturbing and horrifying.  The teenagers involved were treated differently based upon race, which is simply wrong and must not be tolerated.

Racial profiling at the hands of some members of law enforcement is something we are used to seeing on cable news, but this recent event reminds us of the pervasiveness of implicit bias.  We as a community must question why the white teenager was allowed to sit while the African American teen was apprehended with force. I applaud the Somerset County Prosecutor’s office for conducting an investigation into this incident and hope that, despite its outcome, we can work toward changing the disparate treatment of citizens based on the color of their skin.

Both as a fellow public servant and a union member, I support our brave men and women of law enforcement, but we all must hold ourselves to a higher standard.  We keep saying that we have moved forward as a society, that we do not need dialogue about diversity, that we don’t have problems like this here in our community.  This incident happened a few miles down the road. As long as events like this take place, the reality is that we truly – and still – have miles to go on this journey.

Elizabeth Graner
Chair, Bernards Township Democratic Committee

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