Grassroots Jersey City Coalition Introduces Transparent, Independent Review Board for Jersey City Police
Backed by ACLU-NJ and Councilmember James Solomon, coalition aims to improve accountability and trust to Jersey City policing
Jersey City, NJ – The Jersey City Anti-Violence Coalition Movement, the ACLU-NJ, and Councilmember James Solomon this morning released a draft ordinance creating a strong, independent Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) for Jersey City Police Department. The coalition’s CCRB ordinance, which will be introduced for a first reading at the September 23 meeting of the Jersey City Council, enacts five core principles:
CCRB members will represent the full economic and racial diversity of Jersey City, with a majority nominated by independent, longtime Jersey City community and civil rights organizations
Subpoena power for investigations
Disciplinary power to ensure follow through
Budget protections to ensure transparent investigations
A “trigger mechanism” allowing Jersey City to swing into immediate action when NJ State officials pass their own law authorizing strong CCRBs.
“We hold an uncontroversial belief: that everyone in Jersey City should be treated with dignity by police officers. And that belief led us to model a CCRB that can really build trust between our officers and our community,” said Jersey City Anti-Violence Coalition Movement Pamela Johnson.
ACLU-NJ Executive Director Amol Sinha added, “These five core principles define a strong CCRB. Without any one of them, the board’s ability to deliver independent oversight is severely diminished. We are excited to see an ordinance advance with key pillars in place to demonstrate to officials in Trenton the strong demand for CCRBs statewide.”
“Our current tools to keep racism, corruption, and ‘bad apples’ out of our police department isn’t working — the Jersey City Police Department’s Internal Affairs Unit received 206 excessive-force complaints from 2013-2019, but sustained only two,” said Jersey City NAACP Chairperson of the Political Action Committee Chris Gadsden.
For more than three years, members of the Jersey City Anti-Violence Coalition and other South Side community activists have called for a CCRB. Beginning in June 2020, they met regularly with neighborhood residents, law enforcement representatives, Councilmember James Solomon, the ACLU-NJ’s attorneys, and hosted a citywide August 19th town hall attended by over 100 people. They’ve created a community-driven, thoroughly researched ordinance providing Jersey City residents the authority to track, investigate, and create consequences for police misconduct in Jersey City, and to do so in a transparent way that builds community trust.
Councilmember James Solomon will introduce their ordinance for first reading at the City Council’s September 23rd meeting.