Can Jersey release cops’ old disciplinary records? It’s up to NJ Supreme Court
TRENTON — The New Jersey Supreme Court will decide if state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal can order the release of police disciplinary files dating back 20 years.
The decision came in an order issued Wednesday by Chief Justice Stuart Rabner. It comes a few weeks after a state appellate court unanimously ruled that Grewal has the authority to release the files, rejecting arguments made by police and troopers unions seeking to block the releases.
A date for oral arguments before the top court has not been scheduled.
The announcement of Grewal's plans came in the days after the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police sparked protests and calls for more police accountability.
Grewal’s directives issued in June required law enforcement agencies across the state to begin publicly identifying officers who were fired, demoted or suspended for more than five days because of a disciplinary violation, and required state police to release data going back to 2000.
The directives were suspended after police and troopers unions sued, saying Grewal didn’t have the authority to order the release of the files in part because they constitute personnel records that are exempt under state open records laws. They also alleged the directives were arbitrary and unreasonable and that the safety of officers and their families would be put at risk.