NEWARK, NJ – If you’re struggling to put food on the table during a pandemic, a little “courtesy” will do. And that’s why Newark will stop arresting people with low police arrest warrants during the coronavirus crisis, the city mayor said.
Officials announced that Newark is introducing a new, temporary policy when it comes to pending road certificates and unprovable bank orders of $ 500 or less.
According to a joint statement by Mayor Ras Baraka and Public Safety Director Brian O’Hara:
“Under the temporary policy, anyone with a pending traffic warrant or non-domestic violence-related arrest warrant will not be arrested. When police officers initiate a stop, they will generate a report including the pending warrant number, criminal complaint, date of issue, The warrant’s community, bail, and updated address and contact number of the person wanted. They will then inform the person to process the pending warrant as soon as possible. These reports will be forwarded to the Newark Municipal Court for their information. “
O’Hara urges members of the Newark Police Division to follow this temporary procedure “immediately and until further notice,” officials said Friday.
“The police can still stop people with a pending traffic or bank order, even if it’s $ 500 or less,” O’Hara said. “But these people will not be arrested. We will document the encounter, inform the person about the warrant and what they have to do to resolve it. The person will be sent on their way.”
“This allows officers to stay on the streets in the neighborhoods where their presence is required,” said O’Hara. “The last thing people need now is to waste time from their jobs and families on these petty crimes.”
Mayor Baraka agreed with O’Hara.
“Many people have experienced financial setbacks as a result of COVID-19 and we want to reduce their stresses, not aggravate them, especially at an already difficult and stressful time in their lives,” said Baraka.
“We do not apologize for these pending arrest warrants. We are merely extending the reasonable courtesy required during this pandemic,” added the mayor. “And I think it’s especially important that we reduce the chance that people will have negative encounters with the police over such minor crimes.”