Gurbir Grewal

The New Jersey Attorney General’s Office has issued about 100 violations to realtors and landlords who tried to block potential tenants because they were going to pay rent using government assistance.

It is illegal to discriminate against a potential renter based on the source of their income, but investigators found “many” online ads warning that Section 8, the State Rental Assistance Program, and other government assistance programs would be denied.

When New Jersey State Police Sgt. Randall Wetzel shot and killed Maurice Gordon during a motor vehicle stop in May, the incident was not captured on a body camera.

That’s because Wetzel wasn’t wearing one.

Wetzel is among a number of state police troopers on patrol duty who still have not been equipped with body cameras, according to the New Jersey Attorney General’s office.

“NJSP is currently in the process of outfitting all State Troopers on road patrol with body-worn cameras,” said Sharon Lauchaire, a spokesperson for state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal.

Newly released dashcam video shows the final moments before an unarmed Black man was fatally shot by a New Jersey State Trooper in the early hours of May 23.

Sgt. Randall Wetzel, who is white, shot Maurice S. Gordon, who is Black, after the two got into an altercation during a traffic stop on the Garden State Parkway in Bass River, Burlington County.

Gordon, 28, of Poughkeepsie, N.Y., later died.

A second person in New Jersey has tested positive for novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver confirmed during a press conference Thursday afternoon.

The news came less than 24 hours after Gov. Phil Murphy released a statement announcing the first positive coronavirus case — a man in his 30s from Fort Lee, N.J.

Officials have not released the name of that man, who is resting and doing well at Hackensack University Medical Center in Bergen County, according to Ihor Sawczuk, regional president for the northern market for Hackensack Meridian Health.

Gov. Phil Murphy said New Jersey is ready to go to court with the Trump administration over the state’s Immigrant Trust Directive, which limits cooperation between local and state law enforcement and federal immigration authorities.

On Monday, the Justice Department filed a lawsuit against the Murphy administration over the policy, which it says is unconstitutional.

“We will defend our position with great vigor, in particular on behalf of public safety,” Murphy said at a press conference on Tuesday. “The other side of the argument does not have the facts on their side.”

The Trump administration has filed a lawsuit against New Jersey over a state policy that limits law enforcement agencies’ cooperation with federal immigration officials.

In a complaint filed Monday, Justice Department prosecutors said the so-called “Immigrant Trust Directive” violates the U.S. Constitution and should be invalidated.

“Today’s lawsuit, filed by the Department of Justice, seeks to restore the balance of power between the federal and state governments,” said U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito.

Ang Santos / WBGO

Law enforcement officials say the deadly attack in Jersey City on Tuesday, which left three civilians, one police officer, and the two suspects dead, is being investigated as an act of domestic terror. 

“The evidence points towards acts of hate," said New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal.  "I can confirm that we are investigating this matter as potential acts of domestic terrorism fueled both by anti-Semitism and anti-law enforcement beliefs."

New Jersey’s top law enforcement official said a new set of rules will improve accountability and transparency among police officers and prosecutors in an era when the criminal justice system is under increased scrutiny.

Attorney General Gurbir Grewal laid out the changes in a handful of directives released Wednesday that he said were unprecedented.

“These documents reflect the most significant restructuring of policing practices certainly during my tenure as attorney general, and perhaps in the history of the Office of the Attorney General,” Grewal said.

Time is up for mandatory minimums in New Jersey.

Citing racial disparities in the prison population, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Thursday that he agreed with a state commission’s recommendation to eliminate mandatory minimum sentences for people convicted of nonviolent drug and property crimes.

“They haven’t served the cause of justice. They have devastated the lives of too many individuals and families, mostly people of color,” Murphy said, tying the harsh sentences to the War on Drugs of the 1980s. “It is past time that they are retired.”

Cape May County Sheriff Robert Nolan and the County of Cape May are suing the state attorney general’s office over a directive that blocks local police agencies from entering into agreements with federal immigration authorities.

The lawsuit filed Tuesday in federal court claims that New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal has endangered the public safety of the county by restricting its ability to communicate with federal law enforcement.

One of New Jersey’s most recent efforts to combat gun violence is off to a busy start.

Judges have approved requests to use the state’s new “red flag” law more than once a day on average since it took effect on Sept. 1. Under the legislation, law enforcement agencies can confiscate the guns of a person who poses a threat to themselves or others after getting judicial approval.

Such laws are becoming more common across the U.S. as states try out new strategies to prevent future mass shootings and reduce overall gun violence, including suicides.

New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal is among the plaintiffs in a multistate lawsuit against the Trump administration over a new immigration rule that advocates say will drive immigrant communities further underground.

The rule expands the definition of a “public charge” to include immigrants using certain public assistance programs, including Medicaid and food stamps. Immigrants deemed a “public charge” have a more difficult time being granted legal status.

In 2018, New Jersey saw an uptick in the number of reported bias incidents, which occur when victims are targeted for their race, religion, sexual orientation, or other legally protected category.

But what got the particular attention of law enforcement officials was that nearly half of the known perpetrators were minors.

New Jersey hopes a new training program will stem the rising rate of suicides by police officers.

According to state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, the unique stresses of law enforcement make cops more likely to struggle with mental health issues.

“We outfit them with protective clothing. We equip them with guns and vests,” Grewal said at a Tuesday afternoon press conference. “But for too long we’ve ignored a different threat, a threat that claims more and more lives each and every year.”

New Jersey will tighten its already strict gun laws with a new set of measures aimed at reducing illegal firearms sales and curtailing gun suicides.

They are the latest laws signed by Gov. Phil Murphy, a progressive Democrat who has made gun control one of his top priorities since taking office.

“Even though we have more work to do, we must take great pride in what we are doing today,” Murphy said at a Tuesday press conference. “These new laws will continue to send the message that we take gun safety and the safety of our communities seriously in New Jersey.”

New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal is threatening to sue the Trump administration after the Treasury decided Tuesday to block a potential workaround to a new cap on state and local tax deductions.

The Controversy Over Drug Enforcement Experts in NJ

May 17, 2019
Drug Recognition Face Sheet
Joe Hernandez for WBGO News

Droopy eyelids. Dilated pupils. A racing pulse. More cops in New Jersey will be on the look-out for those symptoms in drivers if the state legalizes recreational marijuana.

State authorities are dramatically increasing the number of police officers trained to spot people under the influence of drugs. But a growing chorus of defense attorneys and criminal justice reformers say the methods these officers use are unscientific and should be banned from the courtroom.

Say you're at a bar … chances are you can spot the people who are drunk.

New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal praised a Trump administration decision to table its plans for offshore drilling along the East Coast, saying the move could have harmed the environment as well as the state’s significant tourism industry.

“Our residents deserve to enjoy their summers on the Shore without seeing an oil rig, without hearing [seismic] blasting, without disruption of marine life,” Grewal said Friday.

Tom Brady. NyQuil. Blue Magic.

New Jersey law enforcement authorities are urging heroin users to ditch their drugs if they see any packages stamped with these logos.

“Please, please, stay away from it. Your next fix could very likely be your last,” said Attorney General Gurbir Grewal at a Thursday press conference.

The unusual warning followed what authorities said was a major bust of a heroin production facility at a luxury apartment in Harrison in North Jersey.

Officials estimated it was churning out 15,000 doses of fentanyl-laced heroin every day.

Law enforcement officials in New Jersey have announced the first criminal charges filed under the state’s new “ghost gun” law.

Signed by Gov. Phil Murphy in November, the law bans manufacturers from selling partially assembled guns that can be built into fully functional, untraceable firearms.

Ang Santos/WBGO

When someone dies at the hands of police, can local prosecutors be trusted to investigate the cops?

Some criminal justice advocates in New Jersey say no. They want police-involved violence to be scrutinized by outside investigators they believe will be more impartial than county prosecutors who may be cozy with local police departments.

New Jersey is among nine states joining a federal lawsuit to block the Trump administration from allowing seismic testing off the East Coast, which is a first step toward opening up the Atlantic Ocean to offshore oil and gas drilling.

The lawsuit claims that blasting loud bursts of air to the ocean floor to search for fossil fuel deposits would violate federal environmental laws and endanger marine life.

Lawmakers in New Jersey have approved a bill that would require the state attorney general to investigate any deaths that occur while suspects are in police custody or during an interaction with police.

Activists who say local prosecutors cannot impartially investigate police officers they regularly work with are gratified with the move.

Yet state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, the man who would find himself in a newly powerful role should the bill become law, said it could damage faith in the justice system.

The Garden State’s top law enforcement official says time is up for polluters who contaminate sites in low-income and minority neighborhoods, saddling disadvantaged populations with the negative health effects of environmental pollution.

New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced Thursday his office had filed eight lawsuits against companies from Newark to Trenton to Camden.

New Jersey’s top law enforcement official has issued new guidelines to prosecutors on handling sexual assault cases.

The guidance comes a month after state employee Katie Brennan accused a state worker and Gov. Phil Murphy campaign staffer, Albert Alvarez, of raping her. Alvarez, who has resigned, has denied the charge.

In the directive Attorney General Gurbir Grewal issued Tuesday, victims will be allowed to consult with prosecutors before any plea negotiations and, in cases where charges are not brought, meet with prosecutors to discuss why.

Ang Santos / WBGO

The New Jersey Attorney General's office is suing Janssen Pharmaceuticals, alleging the company deceived consumers about the dangers of its opioid painkillers.  It’s the first such case brought by the Office against a pharmaceutical company based in New Jersey.

“We allege that Janssen masterminded a public relations campaign to undermine accepted medical practices.  It used a network of sales representatives to push it’s misleading marketing.  It quietly funded front organizations that peddled it’s bogus theories,” said NJ Attorney General Gurbir Grewal.

Murphy Signs Bill Banning 'Ghost Guns'

Nov 8, 2018
Ang Santos / WBGO

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has signed a bill he says is the country's strongest ban on so-called ghost guns.  

The law prohibits selling, manufacturing or owning firearms without a serial number.  New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal says that includes guns made with a 3D printer, 

Murphy Calling For 'Gun Safety Package 2.0'

Oct 29, 2018
Ang Santos / WBGO

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy is calling on the legislature to introduce more measures that would tighten New Jersey’s already strict gun laws.  He calls the package of bills ‘Gun Safety Package 2.0.’

“These latest bills will focus on gun trafficking, tightening the regulation of ammunition, speeding the accessibility of smart gun technology, and expanding community-based violence intervention,” Murphy said.

New Jersey plans to use the state’s database to better predict where the next opioid overdose might happen. 

Attorney General Gurbir Grewal says the state already has a lot of data about the locations of overdoses and first responders’ use of the Narcan antidote to save lives.

“We are starting to take that information to identify overdose hotspots or to integrate that with pawn shop data to see where stolen goods are being sold and who’s selling them and to marry all that up to have profiles of our next potential overdose victim.”

One-and-a-half million dollars in criminal forfeiture funds are being used to equip New Jersey State Police with body cameras, and Attorney General Gurbir Grewal all road troopers should have them by the middle of next year.

Grewal says when law enforcement officers and citizens know their encounters are being recorded, they behave better. He says there are thousands, maybe even millions, of those interactions in the state each year.