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'Selfish, Clownish': Mayor Slams Atlantic City Protest That Ended In 7 Arrests

Marty Small Jr. earlier this week urged Steve Young to postpone his Black Lives Matter protest in Atlantic City, set for July Fourth.
Marty Small Jr. earlier this week urged Steve Young to postpone his Black Lives Matter protest in Atlantic City, set for July Fourth. Photo Credit: Marty Small Jr./Tyrone Floyd

Seven protestors including the event's organizer were arrested during a Black Lives Matter march through Atlantic City streets, which the city's mayor called "selfish and clownish" after futile attempts to postpone it.

Mayor Marty Small Jr. met with organizer Steve Young earlier in the week to try to postpone the July Fourth march. 

Small, who watched the march, said he supports peaceful protests but that Young's -- which began at 1 p.m. July Fourth -- was "selfish" and "clownish."

Starting at 1 p.m. outside of the city's public safety building, protestors chanted the names of those who died in police-involved incidents while holding Black Lives Matter signs.

Bikers from American Legion posts and retired police officers turned out in a show of support.

Young cited keeping revenue generated by casinos in the city and no nearby access to a maternity ward among as problems that spurred the protest.

Young spoke to the crowd before leading a march down Atlantic Avenue, to Peter Egnor Bridge, where they stopped for a "Black Lives Matter" and "Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Proud" chant.

The marchers continued toward the Tanger Outlets then the base of the Atlantic City Expressway.

That's where Atlantic City police officers read a statute twice, saying the protestors had gathered illegally and were blocking the road. Then, a second officer read the statute and a final warning was given.

Seven protestors including Young were arrested. All seven were released on a summons pending a future court date.

Atlantic City Police Chief Henry M. White Jr. said the department and other law enforcement agencies have been preparing for the protest due to threats made by organizers. 

“While we respect and support those that exercise their First Amendment rights, we will not allow a major roadway to be blocked cutting off access for our community members, emergency personnel, or visitors to the City of Atlantic City," White said.

"We are grateful that the Atlantic City community did not participate in this misguided attempt to shut down the city."

The Atlantic City Police Department was assisted by the United States Department of Justice Community Relations Service, New Jersey State Police, Atlantic County Sheriff’s Office, New Jersey Transit Police, and the Atlantic County Emergency Response Team.

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