Police

Newark Police Department's Union Doesn't Want a Civilian Review Board

Newark PD already has a federal monitor because of widespread unconstitutional policing.

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The city council of Newark, New Jersey's

In the skies, without oversight.
Flickr/Chris Hunkeler

largest city, voted on Wednesday to implement a civilian review board to help provide oversight of its police department. 

The Newark PD has already been operating under a federal consent decree since late 2015, following a three-year-long investigation by the Justice Department which found what Udi Ofer of the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey described as "systemic problems that have led to widespread civil rights violations." 

The DOJ's review indicates approximately 75 percent of pedestrian stops were made without "sufficient constitutional reason" and according to Vernal Coleman of NJ.com:

Blacks make up nearly 54 percent of the city's population but account for 85 percent of pedestrian stops and nearly 80 percent of arrests; more than 20 percent of officers' reported use of force was unreasonable and violated the constitution; and officers assigned to narcotics and gang units and prisoner-processing stole from those they arrested.

The Associated Press reported that "only one excessive force complaint against police was upheld over a six-year period" and that in addition to unconstitutional stops, police "stole property from civilians."

Newark's police union, the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 12 isn't taking the news lightly and has vowed to challenge the imposition of a civilian review board in court. The AP quotes union president James Stewart, Jr as writing in an email:

We believe we already have civilian oversight, and that is in the form of our public safety director…We also do not believe a civilian body has subpoena powers under the New Jersey Constitution. We will go to court and lay our cards on the table and see who is right.

Earlier this week, I wrote about the LAPD's union pushing back on efforts to reform use-of-force policies and emphasize de-escalation in training, as well as the NYPD's union releasing a report which posits that morale is at an all-time low

You can read more Reason coverage of police unions here

NEXT: The Catch Offers Visit to Another Corner of ShondaLand

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  1. Blacks make up nearly 54 percent of the city’s population but account for 85 percent of pedestrian stops and nearly 80 percent of arrests

    Well, I guess nobody ever considered that maybe it’s the black folks committing all the crime!
    /Irish

      1. It was the obvious joke.

    1. Black people tend to be in worse and poorer neighborhoods and tend to be lower income.

      Once again, this could be an example of racism or an example of class discrimination or an example of certain neighborhoods getting hit harder due to higher crime rates and those neighborhoods happen to be majority black.

      These are all equally likely. I bet if you looked at the average income of people pulled over the poor would make up an overwhelming percentage, but for some reason no one’s interested in pointing out the possibility that it’s class discrimination rather than race discrimination because race is a hotter topic so it’s all anyone cares about.

      1. There are twice as many white people living in poverty than black people, yet their crime numbers are still comparatively far too low for it to be blamed entirely on racial bias in convictions and sentencing. Those poor white people just tend to be “gun nut” rednecks in those evil rural parts of the country, so nobody cares about them.

        1. nobody cares about them

          Stop caring about me!

      2. Class is harder to determine than race. It’s easier for SJWs to point to it as the underlying cause of the unfairness de jour.

  2. “Blacks make up nearly 54 percent of the city’s population but account for 85 percent of pedestrian stops and nearly 80 percent of arrests;”

    Paging Irish.

  3. Interesting fact: Bodies washed up in the tidal flats are the fourth largest voting bloc in Newark.

    1. Right after the ones in the graveyards.

    2. They have their own union

  4. I haven’t heard about Hillary in a while:
    http://observer.com/2016/03/hi…..a-problem/

    She bad.

    1. if DoJ declines to prosecute after the Bureau recommends doing so, a leak-fest of a kind not seen in Washington, D.C., since Watergate should be anticipated. The FBI would be angry that its exhaustive investigation was thwarted by dirty deals between Democrats. In that case, a great deal of Clintonian dirty laundry could wind up in the hands of the press,

      Yep. And a slew of resignations and tell-alls. in many ways, ‘no charges’ may be more problematic than an indictment of one of her subordinates.

      or of her confidants = a la

      Mr. Blumenthal, a private citizen who had enjoyed no access to U.S. intelligence for over a decade when he sent that email, somehow got hold of SIGINT about the Sudanese leadership and managed to send it, via open, unclassified email, to his friend Hillary only one day later.

      Currently serving NSA officials have told me they have no doubt that Mr. Blumenthal’s information came from their reports. “It’s word-for-word, verbatim copying,” one of them explained. “In one case, an entire paragraph was lifted from an NSA report” that was classified Top Secret / Special Intelligence.

      How Sid Blumenthal got his hands on this information is the key question, and there’s no firm answer yet. .

  5. Who’s been in charge of Newark and Essex County for the past 50 years, I wonder?

    1. Libertarians, obviously.

      1. I thought Donald Trump owned it?

        1. No, you’re thinking of Mark Zuckerberg.

  6. “We believe we already have civilian oversight, and that is in the form of our public safety director”

    Can you imagine if a private company facing an inquiry into their practices said “we feel we already have adequate public oversight in the form of our in-house safety officer?”

    1. *arches eyebrow*

      /Risk Manager

    2. public safety director

      Also known as the FYTY Facilitator?

  7. We also do not believe a civilian body has subpoena powers under the New Jersey Constitution.

    “Civilian”? WTF? Does he think the New Jersey National Guard issues all the subpoenas in the state? What the heck does he consider a court to be…a paramilitary organization? Idiot.

    1. Idiot.

      It’s New Jersey and a cop…

    2. I think by “has” he means “should have.”

    3. I’d be amazed if the courts, who are, after all, a “civilian body”, don’t have subpoena powers in NJ.

      Although if they don’t, that would explain a lot.

  8. Why? Do they want a military review board?

    Stop using their terminology. They want to differentiate themselves from the general public. Don’t let them do it.

    The origin of the word “civilian” referred to the artisans and other “professional” type people who lived in cities and towns and who were not on a manor farm so were not expected to go out and fight in battles and wars for their lord.

    Then it came to mean anyone not in the military. Cops are not in the military. They are civilians (townfolk).

    1. This is an excellent point – the Constitution specifically forbids the use of the military for domestic law enforcement. As hard as the Feds have been trying to get rid of that rule, they have failed.

      Cops want to pretend that they are military and are fighting some sort of war in which they shouldn’t be restrained by “civilian” concerns.

      This is a dangerous way of thinking, however, because they *are* civilians in every legal way and should have *no* rights that civilians don’t have. We are moving away from this at a concerning speed and coming to resemble a military dictatorship more and more every day.

      1. the Constitution specifically forbids the use of the military for domestic law enforcement

        I don’t think it does. For a long time, the Posse Comitatus Act prohibited it, but I don’t think there is anything in the constitution that would prohibit it. They can’t force you to let them stay in your house though.

    2. We used to irk the #$&* out of the cops when on active duty – we would always refer to them as “the civilian police”. The MPs were simply “the police”. I shouldn’t have taken so much joy at the rankling this caused….but I did.

    3. No, let them use their terminology and then use those words to hang them (literally). If the NJ cops aren’t civilians, then they’re armed, organized, uniformed troops that exist in violation of the Constitution (because they’re not a militia, being armed with weapons forbidden to ordinary citizens under NJ law, and because States aren’t suppose to have “troops, or ships of war”) and they’re committing acts of war (and war crimes) against US citizens.

      They are a military force that is making war against the United States, and the fact that they are acting “under color of law” is an aggravating factor, not a mitigating one.

      The New Jersey cops are guilty of treason. All of them. And they should be executed for that crime. All of them.

  9. A civilian review board would only make the police less likely to do anything for fear of appearing racist.

    Can’t say if that’d be better or worse for the residents.

    1. It would certainly be better for the black residents who don’t want to be shot or choked out.

      1. Or stolen from, or beaten or arrest for BS…

      2. “It would certainly be better for the black residents who don’t want to be shot or choked out.”

        Aren’t plenty of their neighbors willing to do that though?

        1. “Aren’t plenty of their neighbors willing to do that though?”

          Best to assume “yes,” and thus send in state-armed thugs to do it for them. That would be what a rational person would do.

          1. “Best to assume “yes,” and thus send in state-armed thugs to do it for them. That would be what a rational person would do.”

            Who cares what rational people do? They’re a tiny minority with no representation.

            1. I was trying to agree, so okay “Fuck rational people! We should . . . ”

              *psst – what are we advocating again?*

              1. “… do nothing and let nature take it’s course”?

                I’m advocating… nothing, I can’t decide what’s worse: Corrupt police or politicized residents interfering with corrupt police. My only advice is to try not live in or around Newark as best one can.

                1. As a former Newark resident, I support anything that interferes with corrupt police. I’m not especially picky about the caliber of the rounds involved.

    2. Sort of the way politicians don’t like citizen oversight committees for fear of appearing corrupt.

      1. Sort of the way politicians don’t like citizen oversight committees for fear of appearing corrupt getting caught.

        So… same exact reason.

  10. Whatever happened to “If you haven’t done anything wrong, etc.”?

    1. etc. == you’re not trying hard enough.

  11. I was going to say “cue another shamefully insulting article from Heather McDonald” but hey! – it looks like they went with Jack Dunphy this week.

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