The Setonian

Dozens protest police brutality in South Orange, Maplewood

Protesters spoke out against police brutality in South Orange and Maplewood on Thursday (Michael Polenberg).

About 100 Black Lives Matter protestors marched through the streets of South Orange and Maplewood on Thursday night.

The protest follows the deaths of Alton Sterling, who was shot and killed Tuesday by police in Baton Rouge, La., and Philando Castile, who was shot and killed Wednesday by police in Falcon Heights, Minn.

Michael Polenberg, 48, who lives on Prospect Street in South Orange, said that he was on his way home from getting food when he noticed protestors marching by his house.

Polenberg said that the protestors passed his house twice – the first time the group passed there were about 100 marchers, but the second time the number of people diminished to 40.

“At a glance, they seemed like younger kids,” Polenberg said. “About high school and college age.”

Jesse Olitzky, a Rabbi of Congregation Beth El in South Orange, filmed a video in which protesters can be heard chanting, “Hands up… Don’t shoot,” as he joined the demonstration.

Olitzky and Polenberg said that the protest, which started around 5 p.m., was peaceful. Polenberg added that he was glad his seven-year-old son, Leo, was able to see it.

“I don’t want to speak for them, but they are clearly expressing frustration and outrage,” Polenberg said. “Just the enthusiasm, just the passion and commitment was great to see.”

An official at the South Orange Police Department (SOPD) said that certain roads in South Orange were closed due to the protests.

The SOPD could not be reached for further comment.

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