STATEMENT FROM ACTING PROSECUTOR STEPHENS ON CHAUVIN VERDICT
“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” – Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
On April 20, 2021, the jury delivered justice not only for the family and loved ones of George Floyd, but for the millions of Americans of color who for decades have experienced a different reality of uneven treatment by law enforcement. What we witnessed in Minneapolis last May was not policing but was murder and an absolute abdication of the values of protecting and serving. With this verdict, our country can begin the long and complex process of healing, which we know will also involve continued dialogue between communities and law enforcement, as well as ongoing police reform, increased transparency, and accountability. We thank the Jury for their service.
COVID CRISIS, IMPORTANT GENERAL INFORMATION: The Essex County Prosecutors Office is currently open and will remain open to handle critical law enforcement and victim service matters. The Office continues to temporarily operate with a reduced staff, such that many non-critical matters were delayed somewhat because of the COVID pandemic. However, as COVID vaccination proceeds and case rates in New Jersey and Essex County fall, we anticipate gradual restoration of staffing and operations through the Summer of 2021.
At this time, the Prosecutor’s Office will not be able to handle “walk-ins” at our offices, i.e. people who are involved with a law enforcement case or with a victim service matter who wish to speak to an Assistant Prosecutor, Detective or Victim Service specialist. Also, we are unable to service walk-in requests to view criminal case files or handle other administrative matters.
We are open for people who have made a confirmed appointment with an Assistant Prosecutor or Detective or Victim Service specialist. Please telephone or e-mail the ECPO contact person that you have been working with to request and schedule such an appointment. If you have a police emergency, please contact your local police department for assistance.
During any such meeting, ECPO will follow all necessary procedures to comply with social distancing and personal safety rules relative to the COVID disease. If you have any suspected symptoms such as a fever or a cough or congestion, please seek medical help and do not come to our Office.
We thank the citizens of Essex County for their cooperation in this time of crisis. We are doing everything we can to continue fulfilling our mission to seek justice and fully enforce the criminal laws of the State of New Jersey, while assisting all victims of criminal transgressions. At the same time, we will follow all directives from the United States Federal Government, the State of New Jersey, and the County of Essex regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. We are taking all necessary measures to protect the health and well-being of our dedicated staff.
We thank the Citizens of Essex County for their cooperation in this matter.
Theodore N. Stephens II
Acting Essex County Prosecutor
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