In response to New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal’s introduction of a new use-of-force directive, the ACLU-NJ issues the following statement, which can be attributed to ACLU-NJ Executive Director Amol Sinha:
“The Attorney General’s use-of-force directive incorporates measures that have extraordinary potential to protect people’s rights and safety, and it creates important accountability requirements for law enforcement – with the understanding that even the strongest use-of-force policies are only as effective as their implementation and enforcement.
“The new guidelines limit some particularly dangerous methods of force like vehicular pursuits, require officers to treat force as the option of last resort, demand that officers intercede to prevent inappropriate uses of force by other officers, and, in incidents where officers use physical force, requires them to document it and enter it into a central state database. These are important steps forward.
“At the core of the directive is an emphasis that law enforcement’s role is to treat all people they encounter with respect and dignity, value the sanctity of life, and work to de-escalate difficult situations. This framework, if implemented effectively, could serve to avoid tragic outcomes and protect fundamental rights, particularly in Black and brown communities which often are the subject of over-policing. We look forward to working with the Office of the Attorney General, stakeholders, and advocates to inform further reforms and to help New Jersey’s law enforcement agencies fulfill the directive, both in letter and spirit.”