LD37 Flashpoint: Huttle Takes Stand on Civilian Review Boards; No Answer from Johnson

Vainieri Huttle and Johnson

The Gordon Johnson for Senate Campaign tonight had no answer concerning their candidate’s position on legislation enabling municipalities to create civilian review boards with subpoena power to oversee the police – a critical pending issue in the legislature.

Johnson is running in a Democratic Primary for the state senate seat against Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-37) currently occupied by retiring Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-37).

African American leaders and others are making a concerted effort this week to get Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin (D-19) to prioritize A-4656 in the aftermath of a jury delivering a guilty verdict in the case of ex-cop Derek Chauvin.

Coughlin is reviewing the sensitive legislation in a tempestuous political environment. The bill’s co-prime sponsor in the senate, veteran state Senator Shirley Turner (D-15), earlier this evening expressed doubts about leadership’s willingness to move the legislation in an election year.

It has a complicated history, including vigorous opposition by the state Fraternal Order of Police, which sued the City of Newark over its original creation of a civilian review board in a case that went to the state supreme court and ended up prompting lawmakers to try to craft enabling legislation.

While acknowledging the hard road forward, Turner did say that she intends to press for its passage this year.

But Johnson, who has a law enforcement background and has the backing of the Democratic establishment, including Governor Phil Murphy, doesn’t have a position on the legislation tonight. “Didn’t get a hold of Gordon so don’t have an answer for you on this,” Campaign Spokesman Kabir Moss told InsiderNJ, two days after a jury found disgraced cop Chauvin guilty on three counts in the murder of George Floyd.

Conversely, the campaign of Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-37) did respond.

“Assemblywoman Vainieri Huttle is a proud sponsor of this legislation. She will continue to advocate for its passage with the Speaker,” said Huttle for Senate Campaign Spokeswoman Katie Wertheimer.


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