Two men have been charged with vandalizing police vehicles during recent protests in Newark.
The Essex County prosecutor’s office announced charges Tuesday against 29-year-old Eric Stone of New York and 27-year-old Julio Rodriguez of New Brunswick for allegedly defacing marked police cars at the First Police Precinct, along 17th Avenue.
"Peaceful protesters have a constitutionally protected right to demonstrate. We unequivocally support that, but we cannot condone unlawful conduct," said Acting Essex County Prosecutor Theodore Stephens.
Stone was charged with criminal mischief and a disorderly persons offense, and Rodriguez was charged with four counts of criminal mischief and one disorderly persons count.
The protest of the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota occurred on May 30 in Newark.
Both men received summonses and will make appearances in municipal court. The prosecutor’s office did not have information Tuesday on whether either man had retained a lawyer.
“While we fully support the public’s right to conduct peaceful protests, we cannot turn a blind eye to individuals who blatantly commit criminal acts,” Newark Police Director Anthony Ambrose said. “We are grateful that, by and large, the protests in Newark following George Floyd’s murder were peaceful and without any major incidents of violence.”