Skip to main content

Late yesterday, the Justice Department and U. S. Attorney Paul Fishman announced that they're investigating possible civil rights violations by the Newark Police Department.

The inquiry will evaluate whether the Police Department's practices are in violation of federal law, including the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Officials have begun conducting interviews and reviewing records to determine whether officers have a pattern of illegal stops and frisks and use of excessive force against civilians.

"Our goal is not to blame, but to fix any problems we might find," Fishman said at a news conference Monday.

One factor in this investigation--a complaint by the New Jersey ACLU which alleges over 400 civil rights violations from 2008 to 2010, some of which resulted in people dying.  Newark police director Gerry McCarthy, who is due to become Chicago's police superintendent, asked the Justice Department for help after the ACLU's complaint came to light last year.

Fishman is also looking into allegations that Newark cops frequently retaliate against people observing police activity.  For instance, back in March 2010, a high school student in Newark was briefly detained while recording police attending to a stricken man on a bus, but released her when they finally realized they had no lawful basis to hold her.

The way it looks so far, the likely result will be a consent decree of some sort.  Civil Rights Division chief Thomas Perez says that Justice is just there to fix unconstitutional practices.

The public can submit complaints by calling 855-281-3339 or by sending in a complaint form.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Interesting (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CherryTheTart

    The Chicago connection will have wingnuts creating CT in 3 ... 2 ... 1

    In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra

    by blue aardvark on Tue May 10, 2011 at 02:25:00 PM PDT

  •  Interesting. "We're going to find out (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CherryTheTart

    if anyone committed a crime, but we're not going to prosecute them -- just make sure everyone knows the law."

    The investigation is not a criminal investigation and is meant to pinpoint practices that violate the Constitution and provide a way to fix them, said Tom Perez, assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department.

    To every millionaire who decries they don't want their grandchildren paying for the deficit, I say: PAY MORE TAXES NOW and your grandkids won't have a deficit burden.

    by gooderservice on Tue May 10, 2011 at 02:32:31 PM PDT

    •  If you go in threatening, the Blue Line closes up. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gooderservice

      And you get no cooperation and you find less information. So it is a question of which is the priority: fixing it or punishing evil doers. Maybe I have the wrong focus but if I have to choose between the two, I would rather fix the mess than punish folks.

      I used to be Snow White. And then I drifted. - Mae West

      by CherryTheTart on Tue May 10, 2011 at 02:56:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I see your point, but can't agree with you. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        CherryTheTart

        Of course no one can say what they would do if they found themselves in a particular situation until they find themselves in that situation, but I can certainly try to imagine one of the victim's rights being violated and what they would want, i.e., justice meted out to the perpetrator of the crime AND for it never to happen again to someone else.

        I would suggest that even if everyone involved was promised in writing that no charges would be filed against them, I would suggest that they still wouldn't feel comfortable in telling the truth.  So the Blue Line is mostly always closed.  They still have to work with each other every day for many years.

        I would also suggest that this is exactly what Obama did in "some" ways, fix the mess rather than hold people accountable AND fix the mess.    They're not mutually exclusive.

        To every millionaire who decries they don't want their grandchildren paying for the deficit, I say: PAY MORE TAXES NOW and your grandkids won't have a deficit burden.

        by gooderservice on Tue May 10, 2011 at 03:15:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site