JERSEY CITY, NJ – Although Jersey City officials have not yet decided how much power a civil police supervisor should have, Mayor Steven Fulop told TAPinto Jersey City this week that the city of Jersey City will be filing an amicus letter in support of the city of Newark and the mayor Baraka moves to overturn the New Jersey Supreme Court decision denying decisive investigative and oversight powers to a Civilian Complaint Review Board.
In August, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that Newark did not have the authority to establish a civil police oversight body with subpoena powers and that lawmakers must change the law to allow that authority to be invested in such an agency.
Newark has decided to take his case to the US Supreme Court.
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Jersey City officials were in the process of setting up their own panel when the verdict was passed – although some members of the Fulop administration asked about the wisdom of having a panel to investigate police actions itself.
“Newark is right about more police oversight and they deserve a lot of credit for being adamant on this matter,” Fulop said on a social media post. “As a result, Jersey City will file an amicus letter with the US Supreme Court to support Newark’s argument.”
Activists in Jersey City particularly pressed for the same powers following an incident last May in which police were accused of using excessive force to end a fight.
City council members James Solomon and Rolando Lavarro, with the support of several local activist groups, urged the establishment of a strong review body for the civilian police. Solomon later provided a list of community groups he believed should have a seat on that body.
Echoing the Newark Police Unions who, in filing their legal action that ultimately led to the New Jersey Supreme Court ruling, argued that such a body was in violation of the Attorney General’s guidelines and investigations into the internal affairs of the police force, Carmine Disbrow, the president of JCPOBA shared his union’s concerns.
“We are strong advocates and welcome community contributions on public safety issues,” Disbrow said. “We strongly believe, however, that any control over how police officers perform essential law enforcement duties by those with no crime-fighting experience puts the community at risk.”
Editor’s Note: The editor of TAPinto Jersey City also acts as a communications advisor to JCPOBA
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