On July 12, 1967, residents of Newark took to the streets to protest the abuse of a Black cabdriver, John W. Smith. That night, Newark police officers had beat him into paralysis and dragged him into the police station, simply because he drove his cab around their double-parked police car.
Violent encounters with the police catalyzed the Newark Rebellion, just as they did the protests in hundreds of other cities across America in 1967.
Law enforcement abuses in Newark have been so pervasive that in July 2014, the Department of Justice announced a pattern of widespread civil rights violations in the Newark Police Department. It found that Newark’s police officers had no legal basis for 75 percent of their pedestrian stops from 2009 to 2012, which were used disproportionately against black people. In addition, the Newark police detained innocent people for “milling,” “loitering” or “wandering.”
The Consent Decree
In 2016, a federal court approved a panel of experts-led by former New Jersey Attorney General Peter Harvey-to serve as the Independent Monitoring Team of the Newark Department of Public Safety's Police Division, in accordance with a settlement reached by the Department of Justice and the City of Newark. The Consent Decree requires the Independent Monitor to conduct an annual survey to assess Newark community members' experiences with and perceptions of the NPD and public safety. More information on the consent decree and the Independent Monitoring Team can be found at https://www.newarkpdmonitor.com/.
Newark is poised to realize the kind of policing that residents have long urged. The kind of policing in which law enforcement respects and honors the humanity of the people they serve; the kind of policing in which police seek first to build community; and the kind of policing in which law enforcement joins with the communities they serve to be both peacemakers and peacekeepers.
As a member of this monitoring team, the Institute is committed to ensuring that the community voice resounds throughout the reform process.
There are no currently scheduled community forums.
Consent Decree Documents
Please note that these documents are also available on the Independent Monitor’s Website at www.newarkpdmonitor.com.
Follow the links below to learn more about the Consent Decree, how it affects you, and how you can provide feedback on the process and draft policies.
The Consent Decree
The Consent Decree, filed on May 29, 2016, outlines the necessary steps that Newark and the NPD must take to reform their policing practices. Read the Decree here.
Reports and Plans
First Quarterly Report
The first quarterly report, released on April 24, 2017 by Independent Monitor Peter Harvey and the Independent Monitoring Team, covers the reporting period from July 12, 2016 through January 31, 2017. Read the Report here.
First-Year Monitoring Plan
The first-year monitoring plan lays out a blueprint for carrying out the Consent Decree’s requirements during the first year of oversight. Read the plan here.
The Use of Force and Bias-Free Policing Policies, which were drafted collaboratively with the NPD and the City of Newark, are available for community review.
Your Voice Matters
If you have comments or concerns about the Newark Police Division’s released drafts of its Use of Force and Bias-Free Policing Policies, you can provide feedback here.
The first annual survey of Newark community members under the Consent Decree discusses their interactions with and perceptions of the NPD, from December 2016 to February 2017. View the Survey here.