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Newark to slash police budget, ban racism on the job for city employees

Posted at 9:50 PM, Jun 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-10 07:45:54-04

NEWARK, NJ — Newark Mayor Ras Baraka announced a sweeping local ordinance Monday that, among other things, will defund between $12 and $15 million from the Newark Police Department.

The money, which translates to 5-to-7 percent of the department’s budget, will go toward new anti-violence community initiatives.

Baraka is also ordering the closure of the Newark P.D.’s 1st precinct, which holds painful memories for this city as the site of the start of the 1967 uprising. It will be turned into a museum.

His announcement came amid yet another day of protests in the area over the death of George Floyd need only look to Newark, New Jersey.

A large, peaceful crowd gathered Monday, first in front of the Federal Building on Broad Street before going mobile with their message of justice, accountability, and change.

"Given the time period that we’re in, I think it’s the opportune time for us to do the things we need to do, and just go all the way with it," Baraka said.

The most aggressive aspect of the new ordinance targets white supremacy, banning racism on the job, and adds a “see something, say something” requirement to report racism or civil rights violations.

The penalty? Immediate termination.

“We’re saying that white supremacy and racist activity is egregious and watching people do these things is also egregious,” Baraka said. “So we’re going to remove you from employment.”

Baraka cited a recent state Homeland Security report assigning a high threat level for white supremacy.

Civil Rights activist Larry Hamm, who’s running for US Senate against incumbent Cory Booker and who’s organized some of New Jersey’s largest George Floyd protests, said there is no better time to seek major reforms.

“People have demonstrated, demanding justice for George Floyd in more than 100 cities and towns in Jersey,” Hamm said. “I think this is magnificent. My only comment would be for people to keep it up, and to pace themselves, so that we can continue this kind of movement over the long haul.”