U.S. probes police misconduct in Newark

May 9, 2011 at 3:30 PM
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NEWARK, N.J., May 9 (UPI) -- The Justice Department announced Monday an investigation of the Newark, N.J., police on allegations of excessive force, bias and mistreatment of detainees.

Announcing the investigation in Newark with Mayor Cory Booker at his side, Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez said, "Our investigation will focus on allegations of excessive force, unconstitutional stops, searches, arrests and seizures, discriminatory policing, whether officers retaliate against people who observe and/or record police activity and conditions of confinement at the Green Street Lockup."

"We are not opening an investigation with any preconceived notion of what we will find," U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said.

In September, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a petition accusing police of wide-ranging misconduct and an inability to police themselves, The (Newark) Star-Ledger reported. In more than 2 1/2 years, internal affairs upheld only one of 261 serious complaints ranging from false arrest to physical abuse.

"I'm pretty relieved and enthusiastic about working with the Department of Justice," Booker said, reversing earlier opposition to the ACLU complaint.

Booker said Sunday he opposed a federal monitor but not outside help.

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