What Teaneck must do
In the aftermath of the Pannell tragedy, Teaneck must take several steps to help heal the wounds:
The township should make some immediate tangible expression of concern to the Panell family.
Teaneck must acknowledge its shortcomings. While Teaneck is a beautiful town with decent, well-meaning people, it is not without its problems of race and religious prejudice. More work must be put into promoting better relationships. The schools and religious institutions are extremely important in this regard, for it is there that the value, respect and appreciation for all people and their contributions can be inculcated.
As difficult as it is, Teaneck should not rush the healing process. Generally, whites, along with some Blacks want to hasten healing and reconciliation. But that may not be wise. Most African Americans, especially the youth, want to move slower. They want to mourn longer. They want to talk about Phillip, racism, and police harassment. To shut that off too abruptly could prolong the tension and lead to more serious consequences.
Teaneck should take great care that in its desire to show impartiality it doesn’t forget that a young man is dead. It is unfortunate that the mayor of Teaneck apologized to Officer Spath’s family for not showing concern yet hasn’t said a word to the Pannells.
All efforts should be made to ensure that justice prevails. All details that can be made public should be made so immediately in simple clear language. Not only must the right thing be done, but it must be made to appear right to a people with legitimate suspicions.