A Celebration to Mark the 1865 End of Slavery Devolved into a Full Scale Riot in Long Branch, NJ
A predominantly black crowd of Juneteenth revelers cheered as a white woman was savagely beaten in the streets of a Long Branch, New Jersey commercial district while the city marked the nation’s first Juneteenth federal holiday.
Police from several jurisdictions later responded to the scene while retail employees remained trapped in their shops as the celebration commemorating the end of slavery devolved into a riot.
According to local media reports, the Juneteenth celebration, held in Long Branch’s Pier Village, devolved into a full-scale riot with hundreds of celebration attendees turning on their host city and smashing up businesses and property throughout the Pier Village area.
Local police advised residents to avoid the area, dispatching officers in riot gear to quell the unrest as retail employees, many of whom are under the age of 18, remained trapped in their places of employment as the crowd targeted storefronts for destruction. Additionally, police advised that “numerous fights” involving attacks on officers had broken out in the streets.
“Police have area locked down due to riots in the area,” a bulletin from the Ocean County Scanner read as the Juneteenth violence played out. “Parents are reporting their children are locked in businesses they work in with no way out. Reports of police in riot gear trying to control the scene. Numerous fights involving police, and vandalism. Avoid the area.”
Video footage recorded at the scene of the riotous Juneteenth celebration shows a pair of black women ruthlessly beating a white female attendee, as countless members of the crowd surrounded the group cheering on the violence and, at times, throwing their own jabs at the victim of the attack.
Additional video shows a mob of hundreds of rioters tearing through city streets as police struggled to keep the situation under control. As has been seen in recent race riots throughout the country, several rioters took breaks from the action to twerk while others danced on the tops of moving vehicles.
All told, police from multiple jurisdictions, including state authorities, descended on the riotous scene, eventually regaining control of the situation. While media reports on the riot have been few and far between, local outlets report that the riot’s cause is “unknown.” It is unclear how many – if any – arrests were made.
Source: National File