Justice Department and Newark agree to police reforms


NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — The federal government and Newark announced a settlement Wednesday to reform the city’s police department after allegations that officers have engaged in a pattern of making unconstitutional stops and arrests that have had a disparate impact on minorities.

U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said that he has recommended to a judge that former New Jersey Attorney General Peter Harvey serve as a monitor over the department for five years. Harvey served as attorney general when New Jersey’s state police department was under a federal consent decree over racial profiling.

Newark’s police department has been operating under a federal monitoring agreement after the Justice Department validated many allegations in a 2010 American Civil Liberties Union complaint that accused police of rampant misconduct, use of excessive force and lax internal oversight.

The Justice Department found police routinely stopped people on the street for no legitimate reason and stole property from civilians. It found the police department’s oversight was deficient to prevent and punish misconduct.

The settlement agreement unveiled Wednesday included an agreement to implement a more community-focused police model, revise policies and training on stops and searches, and revise use of force policies.

Newark police will also equip all patrol cars with video cameras and require most officers to wear body cameras.

The agreement also calls for a police civilian review board, which Newark’s city council approved earlier this month.