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Baraka Urges Passage in Trenton of Legislation Creating Civilian Review Boards With Subpoena Power

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Newark Mayor Ras Baraka said he hoped the legislation would pass the Assembly and Senate before summer recess.

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka is urging the state legislature to pass a bill authorizing the creation of civilian review boards to monitor police operations and conduct. This bill would give the boards full subpoena power.

Baraka said lawmakers must pass this as soon as possible.

“We want the bill to be put up and we want it to be passed before the lame duck session,” he said. “We want it to happen before the Assembly and the Senate are dismissed for the summer.”

The bill would also appropriate several hundred thousand dollars for the establishment of the boards.

Baraka stressed the importance of having review boards with teeth.

“I believe that we need subpoena power, that there cannot be a review board without subpoena power,” he said. “I believe that we need to have the right to investigate.”

Baraka also said these boards would not interfere with the rights of law enforcement.

“We should be able to do investigations parallel to internal affairs,” he said. “I do not believe it violates any labor laws or rights that police officers have.”