Why New Jersey Must Hold Police Accountable

The time to limit the power of police is long overdue.

Bills before the Legislature in 2022 can make progress to curb excessive police power, hold law enforcement accountable, and place power with  communities, especially communities of color that bear the brunt of law enforcement. 

Racial injustices in law enforcement and the criminal legal system are morally unacceptable — the New Jersey Legislature must take action by passing the following bills:

  • Shining Light on Secret Police Discipline: S371/A996
    • The public has almost no way of knowing how — or if — police are disciplined for misconduct. This bill follows many other states to make that information available through the Open Public Records Act.
  • Empowering Communities with Oversight of Police through Civilian Complaint Review Boards: A1515
    • This legislation allows communities to set up civilian complaint review boards with subpoena power, the ability to investigate at the same time as internal police investigations, disciplinary authority, and, most importantly, real community representation.
  • The Right to Sue Police for Individual Misconduct: S4046/A4578
    • A legal principle called qualified immunity makes it almost impossible to hold individual officers liable for misconduct in civil lawsuits. These bills would remove on of the roadblocks that make is difficult to hold police accountable for harms.
  • Stopping Lethal Police Tactics: S265/A2431 and A866/S3825
    • One bill would criminalize police use of chokeholds in New Jersey, and the other would strictly limit use of other deadly force.