In a new report, Jersey City had more excessive force complaints than Newark over a five year period, according to northjersey.com. When compared to Newark, Jersey City also sustained many fewer complaints against police officers over the same period.
Paterson Press looked at five years of Internal Affairs reports for New Jersey’s three largest cities. From 2015 through 2019 Jersey City had 123 excessive force complaints, Newark had 122 and Paterson, 156.
Adjusted for population, Jersey City’s rate of excessive complaints over the period was higher than Newark’s at .47 per 1,000 residents compared to Newark’s rate of .43 per 1,000 residents. Paterson’s rate was substantially higher than both, at 1 per 1,000 residents.
Jersey City came in slightly higher for excessive force complaints despite having substantially less violent crime than Newark, according to FBI statistics.
At 145,710, Paterson has a substantially smaller population than Newark (281,054) and Jersey City (261,940).
According to the report 3% of excessive force complaints were sustained in Jersey City compared with 19% for Newark and only 1% for Paterson.
The lion’s share of excessive force complaints in all three cities were filed by residents.
Ward E Councilman James Solomon and Ward A Councilwoman Denise Ridley have been working together on an ordinance that would create a Civilian Complain Review Board to investigate alleged incidents of police misconduct. The ordinance was withdrawn from the council agenda last month in order to make changes to the method for choosing members. Assemblywoman Angela McKnight is sponsoring a bill that would give a CCRB subpoena power, something New Jersey law currently prohibits. Mayor Steven Fulop has come out in favor of the creation of such a board.
The report cautioned that such statistics are considered to be only one method of evaluating police conduct in a particular city.