Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop today offered a blistering treatment of Trenton lawmakers generally and the Murphy Administration specifically as he joined forces with Newark Mayor Ras Baraka to denounce a decision by the state Supreme Court on Brick’s city’s Civilian Complaint Review Board.
Fulop criticized existing laws that go too far in protecting police brass.
“If you think about, and if you read about it in the papers… police chiefs get these long-term contracts – so there’s no accountability,” said the mayor. “What it means is the police chief has the ultimate say on everything. In New Jersey we have these laws that say because you have these ultimate powers that also protect you from the people you’re policing.”
Then he called directly on Governor Phil Murphy and Attorney General Gurbir Grewal to be emphatic – or even just piblic – in their advocacy of the review board in defiance of the state Supreme Court.
“We need the governor and the attorney general to be clear that they want a civilian complaint review board; there has been zero word from Trenton,” Fulop said. “We’re here today to publicly call on them, to make that statement.”
In a 6-1 opinion issued last week, the New Jersey Supreme Court slowed Newark’s march toward community-led police accountability by holding that existing laws limit the powers of the City’s historic Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB), reversing in part an earlier appellate court ruling, according to the American Civilian Liberties Union of New Jersey (ACLU-NJ).
The review board backed by the local elected officials and their allies includes powers to subpoena and investigate. The court’s decision to stem the board occcured prior to the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday unanimously confirming Murphy’s choice for the highest court in New Jersey, who, if confirmed on Thursday by the full senate, would become the state’s first African American woman justice on the court.
Veteran Councilwoman Mildred Crump also joined Fulop and Baraka on the steps of City Hall to condemn the state Supreme Court’s decision. “Where is our police director? At least come and listen to what we have to say,” Crump said. “Hell, no, I’m not going anywhere.”
“The police serve the people and will be accountable to the people,” said People’s Organization for Progress Founder Larry Hamm, calling out the Police benevolent Association, a week after that organization in New Jersey issued an endorsement of incumbent President Donald Trump.
“We’ve been to Trenton once, we’re going to Trenton again,” Hamm added.