On July 22, 2014, the United States Department of Justice announced that the Newark, New Jersey Police Department will be overhauled and will come under federal oversight from an independent monitor after the Justice Department investigation found officers have routinely violated citizen’s constitutional rights. The Justice Department conducted a 3-year investigation which, began in May 2011, and found Newark Police Officers engaged in “troubling patterns” of excessive use of force and abuse of stop-and-frisk tactics, as well as other forms of misconduct. The Justice Department announced that the vast majority of recorded street stops examined had no reason to take place and overwhelmingly targeted the city’s black population. The Justice Department’s investigation analyzed more than 10,000 instances of stop-and-frisk and found 75 percent of the stops were unjustified.

The investigation also found officers consistently made arrests for “contempt of cop”, instances where people were lawfully objecting to police actions were detained because they were perceived as behaving disrespectfully to the officers. The accused were often charged with obstruction of justice and resisting arrest. The Justice Department report also called for an overhaul of the police internal affairs unit. The Justice Department announced that investigations by the internal affairs unit were “woefully substandard”. The report announces there have been hundreds of excess force complaints from 2007-2012, and only one has been sustained.

If you think a law enforcement officer has violated your constitutional rights by illegal detention, illegal search and seizure, illegal arrest or some other unconstitutional means, contact my office and give me the opportunity to protect your constitutional rights.