- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 4, 2015

BRIDGETON, N.J. (AP) - A leader of a march that was staged to protest a recent fatal police shooting in southern New Jersey says officers were wrong to ticket some group members who marched on a city street.

But Bridgeton police officials say marchers were repeatedly warned to stay on the sidewalks, saying the directive was issued to protect the marchers’ safety and keep roads clear for motorists.

Walter Hudson, the organizer of Tuesday night’s march in Bridgeton, told The Philadelphia Inquirer (http://bit.ly/1I30M7T) that the tickets issued to him and three other marchers were “scare tactics.”

Hudson said marchers have walked down the same route - about a mile and a half to two miles - without issue twice before. The difference Tuesday night, he said, was that the group went on to the city’s municipal building instead of stopping at the courthouse.

“It’s clearly a scare tactic,” he said. “But I just wanted to let the mayor know we’re not going away, we’re coming back.”

About 40 people took part in the protest, which stemmed from the Dec. 30 shooting of Jerame Reid. The 36-year-old Bridgeton man was shot and killed by police during a traffic stop that was captured by a patrol car camera.

Bridgeton police Capt. Michael Gaimari told the newspaper that the tickets were not improper.

“We respect anyone’s right to protest and/or march, but we are obligated to enforce the laws to protect them and those that are operating motor vehicles on the city’s roadways,” he said.

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Information from: The Philadelphia Inquirer, http://www.inquirer.com

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