Trenton Resident Kadja Manuel: A Letter to Trenton

Dear Trentonians,

 

After seeing the events that took place on the Nations Capitol on January 6th, 2020, I write the following with a heavy heart. My name is Kadja Manuel. I’m an Army Veteran, Community Advocate, a Trenton native, and the oldest sibling of 15. That means 14 younger ones are continually looking up to me, and for that reason, I cannot be silent on the issue of “Police Reform” on the local level only to be vocal on the National level. Over the past couple of months, we’ve seen protests erupt, and young people take to the streets like never before. In 2020 alone, over 4,400 protests denounced all forms of bigotry supporting the Black Lives Matter Movement; all were protesting in unity to fight against racial discrimination and police brutality. Even in this great city, the state’s capital, Trenton, we’ve seen public officials come out in support of the group’s initiative by posing for photos, and attending events but, where is that support now?

 

It has come to my attention that the Trenton Police Department is considering the rehiring of a disgraced officer, David Ordille. Mr. Ordille wasn’t charged one crime. He was charged with 17.

 

Mr. Ordille, a 15 year veteran of TPD, was serving as a Detective Sergeant when Police Director Sheliah Coley terminated him for lying, making misstatements, and ommissions in a search warrant affidavit in the federal case, The United States v. Timmothy Wimbush.

The Chief Judge, Judge Freda L. Wolfson of the United States District Court presiding over the matter said the following in her written Opinion  on January 14th &16th 2020:

 

“Both of the statements regarding the interaction with the confidential informant and misrepresentation of the law enforcement’s purpose are affirmative acts of deliberate deception.” 

 

I’ve seen some of you sing the praises of Stacey Abrams and John Warnock, and other Black organizers. Some of you even saw yesterday’s violence as some kind of surprise. Was I fearful? Yes. Was I surprised? No. How can you say BLM and stand in solidarity with us but stay silent when an officer in this very municipality is in talks to regain employment after being terminated, an IA investigation, and having 17 infractions? Where is the outrage? Even a staged book signing with Rev. Al Sharpton spoke out specifically for this type of behavior in Police Departments across this nation. There’s even a mural not too far from where I live. At the mural ceremony, John E. Harmon, Sr., the Founder and CEO of the African American Chamber of Commerce of NJ (AACCNJ), stated that simulating the Black Lives Matter murals were to demonstrate the support of the AACCNJ with the merits of the Movement and provide a platform for local and state government to show their endorsement of this message.

 

To Governor Murphy, and Attorney General Grewal,

 

Do you support the rehiring of David Ordille, a man who does not have a training issue but an integrity issue?

 

Young Black organizers and Progressives are sick and tired of being told what will happen in our communities by people who aren’t grounded in our communities, but hold these elected and appointed positions. We’ve endured all of our lives. This abetting and abiding behavior needs to stop.

 

Those of you on the sidelines, here’s a simple message: It’s impossible to be an ally and be silent. It is impossible to be a leader while remaining silent.

 

To the elected and public officials within the City of Trenton,

 

What are you doing with the relationships you’ve fostered to administer positive change in Trenton? Suppose you’re unwilling to leverage any of those working relationships with the Mayor’s office, the Governor’s office, the State Legislature, or the Attorney General’s Office. In that case, we do not need you.

 

Signed,

 

A concerned Trentonian.

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