During 2020, no Newark police officer fired a shot while on duty. But almost as soon as the calendar changed to 2021, a police-involved shooting killed a man in Newark. The state attorney general is investigating.
Larry Hamm of the People’s Organization for Progress says civilian oversight of police actions is critical to genuine police reform, but police have successfully resisted. “The fraternal order of police fought all the way up to the State Supreme Court to stop the implementation of the police review board because the fraternal order of police is opposed to any civilian oversight,” he said. “I’m telling you when that happens, you will see an even further and significant decline in police brutality.”
Newark police have undergone de-escalation training, but Hamm says meaningful reform would require funding from all levels of government, not just the city. “The efforts at police reform are being paid for through the municipal government, through the taxpayers of the city of Newark, but the state has a role in this and the federal government has a role in this,” said Hamm.