Scores of NJ Police Departments to Release Names of Disciplined Cops
Several more New Jersey law enforcement agencies have set dates to release information on officers who have committed major disciplinary violations.
Attorney General Gurbir Grewal issued a directive on June 15 requiring every state, county, and local law enforcement agency in New Jersey to publish a list of officers who have been fired, demoted, or suspended for more than five days due to a disciplinary violation by Dec. 31.
State Police and Paterson have announced they will post their respective lists by July 15. Grewal said Newark and Trenton will also post lists but dates were not given.
Acting Union County Prosecutor Lyndsay V. Ruotolo said its list of investigative employees that have committed major disciplinary violations, going back at least 10 years, would be posted by Sept. 1.
“We as a nation, as a county, as an Office, find ourselves in an unprecedented historical moment that calls upon us to question the long-held rules of the system we serve," Ruotolo said in a written statement. "Ever-vigilant of our duty to serve justice and the community, doing so now requires us to confront and own the imperfections of the criminal justice system, and even the atrocities that have been committed by fellow officers of the law and of the court who have held titles similar to those we hold now.”
Bergen County Prosecutor Mark Musella instructed the 72 law enforcement departments in his county to release violations from the past 20 years by Oct. 1. He also issued a directive to eliminate disparities in the way departments conduct internal affairs investigations and correct the "uneven level of discipline" imposed on officers by departments.
The attorney general's directive has received push back the unions representing State Police troopers and officials with the State Police who are opposing the state attorney general's plan.
The unions say that releasing the names will serve "no legitimate purpose other than to harass, embarrass, and rehash past incidents during a time of severe anti-law enforcement sentiment" and that doing so will instigate violence.
Grewal's directive comes after protests against the death of George Floyd in May while in Minneapolis police custody. The white officer who knelt on Floyd's neck has been charged with second-degree murder while three other cops were charged as accomplices.