25 signatures reached
To: Mayor Fulop and Jersey City Council Members
Jersey City: Create a Strong, Independent Police Review Board Now!
Everyone in Jersey City should be treated with dignity by police officers. That simple standard will build trust between our officers and our community.
To turn that phrase into reality--to build that trust--Jersey City must take action: creating an independent, people-rooted Jersey City Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) with subpoena, disciplinary, and investigatory powers. To truly create change, it must be a CCRB:
Whose investigatory freedom includes real subpoena power.
Whose members are nominated by proven, independent Jersey City community organizations: groups who answer to people, not politics.
Whose recommendations will spark guaranteed disciplinary followthrough.
Whose budget is protected from retaliation through funding cuts
Whose explicit trigger mechanism allows Jersey City to swing into immediate action when State officials pass their own law explicitly granting subpoena power to municipal civilian review boards across New Jersey.
Whose public accessibility and accountability is clearly defined through mandatory, equity-centered reporting requirements.
Why is this important?
Our current tools to keep racism, corruption, and “bad apples” out of our police department aren’t working — as evidenced by the fact that the Jersey City Police Department’s Internal Affairs Unit received 206 excessive-force complaints from 2013-2019, but sustained only two.
For more than three years, members of the Jersey City Anti-Violence Coalition and other South Side community activists have called for a CCRB. Beginning in June 2020, they met regularly with neighborhood residents, law enforcement representatives, Councilmember James Solomon (who agreed to introduce this legislation), the ACLU-NJ’s attorneys (who helped write it), and hosted a citywide August 19th town hall attended by over 100 people. They’ve created a community-driven, thoroughly researched, powerful ordinance providing Jersey City residents the authority to track, investigate, and create consequences for police misconduct in Jersey City, and to do so in a transparent way that builds community trust.
Jersey City can model a Civilian Review system that works. We’re inviting you to do better than the Minneapolis officials who would not empower their own CCRB — which, despite no fewer than 17 misconduct complaints about Officer Derek Chauvin before he killed George Floyd, could do nothing to investigate, discipline, or stop him. We cannot allow a similar situation to occur in Jersey City.