Nearly 50 years after Newarkers first called for federal oversight of the NPD, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) launched a civil rights investigation of the department in 2011.
In July 2014, the DOJ published its findings after a three-year investigation, which included:
- 75% of pedestrian stops lack a constitutional basis.
- Black residents are 2.5 times more likely to be stopped, 2.7 times more likely to be
- subject to searched, and 3.1 times more likely to be frisked.
- One out of every five uses of force is excessive and unconstitutional.
- The accountability system is broken: from 2007-2012, Internal Affairs sustained only one excessive force allegation out of hundreds.
- Newarkers who criticize police or are disrespectful have been detained and arrested.
- Thousands of Newarkes have been unconstitutionally stopped by police for milling around or wandering.
The DOJ and the City of Newark announced in July 2014 that they would be entering into a consent decree requiring widespread changes to policing practices in Newark. The consent decree will be enforced by a federal court judge and will be overseen by a team of federal monitors agreed to by the DOJ and Newark.
Demanding a Seat at the Table for Newark Communities
Since the DOJ published its findings, N-CAP has been pushing for community involvement in the selection of a federal monitor to oversee reforms to the NPD.
In March 2015, N-CAP sent a letter (PDF) to the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Civil Rights Division of the DOJ urging greater transparency and a role for community members in the monitor selection process. Read N-CAP’s letter here (Mar. 19, 2015).
In early 2015, N-CAP also conducted a Community Values Survey to better understand Newark residents’ values and priorities for a federal monitor. N-CAP collected over 100 surveys.
In May 2015, N-CAP sent a questionnaire (PDF) to all of the federal monitor applicants asking for their plans on ensuring that the residents of Newark are a part of the reform process of the Newark police department.
Following a thorough vetting process, including interviews with a number of candidates, N-CAP in July 2015 endorsed three applicants (PDF) for the federal monitor position.