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Tue Jul 22, 2014, 08:49 PM

Federal monitor ordered for Newark police for civil rights violations

New Jersey's largest police department will be placed under federal oversight for repeatedly violating residents' civil rights, using excessive force and failing to discipline officers for a wide range of misconduct, the Justice Department announced Tuesday.

The Newark Police Department, a 1,000-member force that patrols one of the most violent cities in the Northeast, will be subject to court-ordered reform, a move that comes after a three-year investigation into rampant misconduct in the agency, according to the Justice Department and court documents.

The federal investigation was launched in 2011, less than a year after a scathing report from the American Civil Liberties Union said the police department was incapable of policing itself."

The investigation found that city police officers had no constitutional basis for 75% of the pedestrian stops they conducted in recent years. It also determined that officers often used excessive force during arrests but underreported the level of force used."

“Our investigation uncovered troubling patterns in stops, arrests and use of force by the police in Newark. With this agreement, we’re taking decisive action to address potential discrimination and end unconstitutional conduct by those who are sworn to serve their fellow citizens,” Atty. Gen. Eric. H. Holder Jr. said in a statement."

*The department received 989 excessive-force complaints against officers from 2000 to 2009, according to records reviewed by the Los Angeles Times.

Only 21 of those cases, or 2%, resulted in disciplinary action or criminal charges against the officers.


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