July 16, 2014
Two Jersey City police unions condemned a pair of memorials, one of which was created on Facebook, that honor the man who fatally shot Jersey City Police Officer Melvin Santiago.
A spokesman for the Jersey City Police Officers’ Benevolent Association and the Jersey City Superior Officers Association denounced a Facebook page honoring the cop’s killer. Earlier today, the unions released a joint statement saying “common sense” prevailed when a physical memorial on Orient Avenue was removed by the city overnight.
“Whether it’s a digital or physical memorial, the union feels the same way. It’s in poor taste. The killer made his choice in his actions. We need to really look at it and ask who are we really commemorating here?” said Ryan Cangialosi, a spokesman for the unions.
Lawrence Campbell, 27, was killed by Jersey City Police after he shot the 23-year-old Santiago in the Walgreens parking lot Sunday morning, police said. Santiago was responding to a report of an armed robbery at the store, according to authorities.
The Lawrence Campbell Memorial Support Page went online at 9:16 p.m. last night. Not much information is given on the page, which currently has 307 Likes, though the About section reads: We’re calling on all law enforcement officers to support the Campbell family in their time of need with donations from the money you leech off of society.
“It’s a page honoring a coward and a murderer. That is not deserving of honor. And the actions of someone running in the line of danger and going down in the line of fire, that’s a hero,” Cangialosi said.
The Orient Avenue memorial, consisting of empty liquor bottles and signed T-shirts, was torn down by the city over night. The unions also applauded Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop’s decision to remove the physical memorial.
“Today, common sense prevails in our community,” the statement read. “We stand with Mayor Fulop’s decision to remove the “shrine” that was disgustingly erected in memory of a hardened, violent criminal with an extensive history of past offenses.
“The choices that Patrolman Santiago made, to take care of his family, serve his community and do his bit to make Jersey City a better place were taken from him. The true hero that he is, Melvin gave his last breath defending our community and running towards danger,” the statement said.
Meanwhile, the Facebook page has made several posts, including insults aimed at police officers and calls for police to disarm.
Locals have taken to the page to express their disgust for Campbell’s actions. For example, one user said, “The police did the right thing, too bad they didnt do it a day earlier,” and another said, “You people are a joke.”
Several users say they have tried to report the page to Facebook to be shut down. As of publication, the page is still online.