NEWARK, N.J. – The Justice Department announced today that it has opened a civil pattern or practice investigation into the Newark, N.J., Police Department (NPD) involving allegations of use of excessive force, discriminatory policing, whether detainees confined to holding cells are subjected to unreasonable risk of harm and whether officers retaliate against citizens who legally attempt to observe or record police activity. The investigation is in accordance with the pattern or practice provision of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, the anti-discrimination provisions of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The Justice Department will determine whether there are systemic violations of the constitution or federal law by officers of the NPD. During the course of the investigation, the Justice Department will consider all relevant information, including all efforts that Newark has undertaken to ensure compliance with federal law. The Justice Department has engaged in similar reviews of a variety of state and local law enforcement agencies, both large and small, in jurisdictions such as New York, Ohio, Washington, Pennsylvania, the District of Columbia, Louisiana and California.
This matter is being investigated jointly by attorneys from the Special Litigation Section of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey.