NEWARK -- The ACLU of New Jersey reacted strongly today to the comments made Sunday on Face the Nation by Governor Chris Christie, who wrongly blamed the Black Lives Matter social justice movement for deaths of police officers. In fact, The Washington Post reported last month that 2015 is on pace to see 35 felonious killings of police officers, which would be the second lowest number of murders committed against cops in decades.

The following statement is attributable to ACLU-NJ Executive Director Udi Ofer:

Udi Ofer

“Governor Christie needs to apologize for his statement that the Black Lives Matter movement is responsible for the killing of police officers in the United States. Such statements are irresponsible, offensive and flat-out wrong. Americans across the political spectrum have come to recognize that our nation's criminal justice system is broken, and the Black Lives Matter movement is part of a growing consensus that has rightfully focused on demanding greater transparency and accountability from our nation's police forces.

“Instead of disparaging the Black Lives Matter movement, Governor Christie should look at the track record of police departments in his own state. The Newark Police Department, the state’s largest municipal force, was cited last year by the United States Department of Justice for engaging in widespread civil rights violations.

“Telling the American people, in effect, to sit down and shut up is no solution to the serious issues too many communities face with law enforcement. The lives of police officers are paramount, but so, too, are the lives of people of color who have disproportionately faced the brunt of a broken criminal justice system.”