The state Supreme Court heard arguments on the case in June. Newark police implemented anti-bias training and revamped use-of-force policies, but racial disparities in policing remain. “We act strictly when a crime is committed, or crime is afoot.”. Are you trained on these issues? “Until people rise, Camden won’t rise, and so often [city officials are] making decisions for us. While Cobb professes a sense of hope at the end of this 2020 update to "Policing the Police," he does not underplay the glaring fact that the same problems that plague us in 2020 are similar to those he shed light upon in 2016 – and indeed, they are very much the same as those that brought Newark to the fore of our national conversation in 1967. Many activists and community workers, including some of the department’s most vocal critics, say there don’t seem to be as many people coming to them with concerns about the police using excessive force. Later, a protest organizer called Black police officers up to a stone platform where protesters and the city had dismantled a statue of Christopher Columbus. This month, as activists across the country called on cities to “defund the police”, Baraka moved 5% from the police budget ($235m last year) to other anti-violence initiatives and plans to turn a police precinct into a museum. Across America, protests against police brutality have been erupting for weeks after the death of George Floyd, with footage of new police killings of unarmed Black men resurfacing weekly. Their work is complemented by a network of neighborhood-based organizations that aim to curb violence by sending social workers to address mental illness and homelessness and former offenders to mediate disputes. For Hadari, who works to research and implement police reform at NYU, it remains difficult to quantify a city’s success. Yet that came with a corresponding rise in use of force – a number explained away by officials as a result of an increase in reporting. The department must also change the minds of people such as Harris and Hodges, whose views of Newark police soured long ago. He cited metrics like lower gunshot wounds, documented cases of police deescalating violent incidents and anecdotes of city residents as some metrics of success. Many credit Baraka for the changes, but they also acknowledge that reform wouldn’t have been possible without the federal government’s involvement. The city’s newly elected mayor had called on him to fight crime and gun deaths with community interventions, instead of police. Camden and Newark, two cities in New Jersey, are among those that have been held up as powerful examples of positive change. “They’re not just a paramilitary force, they’re a political force,” Hamm said. This moment revealed the possibility of change. Meanwhile, Baraka's office has diverted funds to support community street teams dedicated to violence de-escalation and offering social and psychological services. SALON ® is registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office as a trademark of Salon.com, LLC. Peter Chen, a lawyer who lives in Newark and does his own analyses of police data, said the figures raise questions about Newark’s commitment to reversing the perception of police as an oppressive force in many neighborhoods. Under Baraka, Newark also established a citizen review board to independently investigate incidents of police abuse. Baraka took these forward when he was elected, and supported other, complementary initiatives, such as Sherrill’s Newark Street Team. Even with a consent decree, there are signs that Newark is falling short — and could miss its five-year deadline to meet the settlement’s demands. Protesters talked with police outside the First Precinct Police Station in Newark on May 30. protests that followed the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, a pattern of unconstitutional stops, arrests and use of force, Sheriff describes ‘epiphany’ learning de-escalation from Scottish police, that the department’s tactics were unconstitutional, Here's what defunding the police might look like in reality. They say that by coming to terms with its ugly past, the 1,077-officer department — which is now 34 percent Black and 44 percent Hispanic — has made itself worthy of the public’s trust. “The police are a very powerful institution, and power corrupts.”. “You’re seeing departments take into account more than crime rates, because that’s a cycle that feeds on itself – if you send officers to places where there’s more crime, they observe more crime.” But that doesn’t mean that progress isn’t being made.Sherrills said the progress in Newark could not be wholly attributed to police reform when so many other forces are in play, including his team, who operate in schools, hospitals and neighborhoods, always unarmed.
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