Newark police monitor will hold community forum to discuss quarterly oversight report findings
Published November 20, 2017 | Andaiye Taylor
Tonight (Monday, November 20th) from 6 to 8 p.m. at Jehovah-Jireh Praise & Worship Church Center (505 S. 15th St., Newark) Peter Harvey, who was appointed Independent Monitor for the Newark Police Department in 2016, will discuss the findings of second quarterly report about Newark police conduct with community members.
Harvey and his team released the 580-page report, which is available online, on October 6th. It covers police activities from February 1st through May 31st of this year.
In July 2014, the U.S. Justice Department (DOJ) announced its finding that the Newark Police Department (NPD) had engaged in a pattern of constitutional violations following an investigation into NPD by the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. That investigation began in May of 2011.
According to DOJ, the NPD violated civilians’ rights in terms of “its stop and arrest practices, responses to individuals’ exercise of their rights under the First Amendment, uses of force, and theft by officers.” Black people were disproportionately affected by unconstitutional stops and arrests, according DOJ’s findings.
NPD and the Justice Department reached a settlement in 2016 that involved overhauling the police department through a series of reforms. This “consent decree” involves remaking police practices and implementing a series of new checks on the department in twelve areas, including training, use-of-force procedures, implementation of in-car and body cameras and a civilian oversight board.
The settlement also resulted in the installation of a court-appointed independent monitor and monitoring team to oversee and report on the department’s implementation of the settlement terms. Harvey was one of 21 potential monitors selected by DOJ and the City of Newark for the role. His appointment to the position was announced in March of 2016.
Harvey convened a community forum to discuss his first quarterly report in June of this year. Tonight’s session will be his second.
“For us to truly transform the culture of the Newark Police Division, the community must be an engaged partner,” said Harvey. “The voices of Newark residents will substantially contribute to our work assisting the Newark Police Division in reforming its policing practices as required by the Consent Decree.”
Ryan P. Haygood, President and CEO of the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice and a member of the Independent Monitoring Team, said this is a crucial time for creating a police department that serves Newark residents. “But for us to realize the potential of this moment, the community must be fully engaged and heard,” said Ryan. “That’s why community forums like this are so important.”
The forum is open to all community members.
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