Atlantic City’s first Community Walk of the summer had one of the biggest turnouts yet, organizers said.
About 60 residents, officers and prosecutors joined together to march through the neighborhoods as part of a community outreach that began five years ago.
“What we’re trying to do is increase relationships between the community and law enforcement,” said Councilman Kaleem Shabazz, one of the first organizers.
But now, the walks are looking to expand to give people resources, said Perry Mays, who heads the Coalition for a Safe Community, which started the walks.
This week was sponsored by the Fellowship of Churches.
It’s a chance for police to interact with the community beyond investigating crimes or responding to calls, said Capt. Rudy Lushina, who stood in for Police Chief Henry White, who was unable to make Tuesday’s walk.
Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon Tyner, who headed all of last year’s walks, also was unable to attend.
“He really wanted to be here,” said Deputy First Assistant Prosecutor Mario Formica.
Tyner has a professional and personal interest, Formica said, adding that Tyner made note that he grew up around the corner from where Friday night’s fatal police shooting of a resident happened.
Timothy Deal’s family has called on Tyner to release the body camera video of the incident, which he has said will be released in accordance with attorney general guidelines.
Jackie Gee, Deal’s next door neighbor for many years, said she believes there are good and bad officers.
But she wants the full story of what happened to the man she called her nephew.
“That boy was a good boy,” said Arleen Garland, who walked with Gee.
Garland, who lost her son to gun violence in 2004, said she doesn’t know what truly will fix the violence problem.
The Rev. Odinga Maddox called the walk a success, as residents and officers stood in a circle holding hands to end the night: “All of the families, all of the community coming together as one.”