Najee Seabrooks was a Community Violence Intervention Activist and an Employee of Paterson Healing Collective
The New Jersey chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroot networks, released the following statement in response to a police officer shooting and killing Najee Seabrooks, a community violence intervention activist, on Friday afternoon. This is an ongoing investigation and there will be a vigil tonight hosted by the Paterson Healing Collective, to honor Najee Seabrooks life and his commitment to ending gun violence. The Paterson Healing Collective is an Everytown Community Safety Fund grantee.
“Our community is devastated and our condolences go to Najee’s loved ones. Najee was a public servant and role model in our community who worked tirelessly to keep our communities safe from gun violence,” said Robyn Platies-Moore, a volunteer with the New Jersey chapter of Moms Demand Action. “This should not have happened — we trust that the Attorney General’s Office will conduct a thorough and transparent investigation to ensure that there will be justice for Najee’s family.”
Every year, police in America shoot and kill more than 1,000 people. Black and brown communities are disproportionately impacted by gun violence. Police shoot and kill unarmed Black Americans at a rate 2.4 times higher than unarmed white Americans. When police initiated contact, Black people (5.2%) were twice as likely to experience a threat or use of physical force than white people (2.4%). To curb this gun violence and the disproportionate impact it has on Black and brown communities, it is essential that every law enforcement officer in America works for an agency with evidence-based policies—strong guardrails on when police may use force against civilians, ensuring police are held accountable when force is used, and prioritizing de-escalation, dignity, and respect. More information about police involved gun violence is available here.
While there is no one solution to end gun violence, Community Violence Intervention Programs play a key role in making cities safer. Organizations like Paterson Healing Collective, have been working to prevent gun violence. By utilizing a public health model, community-led programs have been shown to reduce gun violence in some of the most heavily impacted neighborhoods. While these programs are often uniquely situated to address violence in their communities, they need support from policymakers in order to sustain and expand their life-saving work. Leaders and legislators must invest in these community-driven, evidence-based interventions. More information about city gun violence is available here.
In an average year, 427 people are killed by guns in New Jersey and another 874 are wounded. Gun violence costs New Jersey $5.3 billion each year, of which $168.9 million is paid by taxpayers. More information about gun violence in New Jersey is available here.