1 year after George Floyd’s murder New Jersey hasn’t passed a single meaningful police accountability bill | Opinion
Written by Zayid Muhammad
ANOTHER EMERGENCY RE OUR CCRB BILL AND OUR TRANSPARENCY BILL!
An Effort is being made in the NJ Senate Seeking to water down CCRB Bill!
We are hosting an emergency meeting on Wednesday, June 2 at 6pm because some important urgent new developments have been brought to our attention by Mayor Ras Baraka.
In short, in a special emergency meeting that he hosted where he was joined by Asw. Shavonda Sumter and on the phone by Asw. Angela McKnight, Mayor Baraka brought to our attention that NJ Senate President Steve Sweeney is drafting a weaker County centered bill to undercut our CCRB Bill. We have until the middle of June to pressure the Senate to present the original version that mirrors Asw. McKnight’s bill to be the bill that comes forward.
It means several things immediately, we must all engage our area legislature delegations to come out for our bill intact and dare to try to do that in as united manner as possible.
It also means that we have to examine right away when we are going to do an action/rally on Trenton, and we have to do that soon. Sarah Fajardo of the ACLU informs us that it should be done when the Senate is in Session. Out the days we preliminarily know about are June 10th, June 15th or June 16th. We are trying to get clarification as soon as possible. We should know by Wednesday.
On Thursday, June 3rd, Mayor Baraka is holding a press conference at Newark City Hall at 10:30am to rally Newark area support for the bill. Whoever has the capacity to join, it would be enormously welcome.
It is important that each of us in our respective communities immediately identify everything we can do within your own base community to pressure your legislators
-Meetings with local legislators to insist on their support, or to even consider becoming co-sponsors
-Local press conference or rally (would be great if your area’s delegation came out together publicly!);
-Social Media campaigns to your delegation. Remember our Hashtag #StrongCivilianReviewBoardsNow! This corrects a recent call from a supportive progressive educator Akil Khalfani, who put forth #WeNeedCCRB...It is well meaning, but we have CCRBs...There are CCRBs all over the country. Weak ones! We need STRONG CCRBS! Folks with Social Media Campaign ideas...Twitter Storms etc, let’s talk about them;
We are asking everyone to strongly consider reaching out to Senate President Sweeney, Speaker of the Assembly Coughlin and Governor Murphy. (The Governor has been quiet on the matter.) Let them each know that the challenge of this historical moment is to present and make happen the strongest package of Police Reform bills with our strong CCRB Bill leading the way...leading the way for New Jersey and perhaps for the rest of the country! Not to promote weak bills that do not produce any change! We resubmit a recent OpEd by Yannick Wood of the NJ Institute of Social Justice to build upon...
One diplomatic tact to consider is to urge Sweeney and Coughlin to not only push the bills forward, but to dare to be cosponsors themselves!
In short all of this has to be done before this legislative session ends on June 21st...
The Police Transparency Bill is also being watered down!
This bill is also on the same urgent time track as the CCRB Bill because its primary sponsor, Sen. Weinberg, is retiring after this legislative session...
So just as we beat back a bad bill on chokeholds a minute ago, we have just learned that a weak version of the Police Transparency Bill (A1731) is being floated through the Assembly. Interestingly, it is coming from Asw. McKnight’s office. The ACLU and Atty CJ Griffin, who lives in McKnight’s district, are working hard to get her office to pull that bill. If not we may have to testify to have it pulled on June 2nd!
Stay tuned! Be ready!
We know that this is a lot to consider on short notice, but that is what we are being challenged with.
I believe that we can meet this challenge!
A link for Wednesday’s meeting will be forthcoming...
Yours for Justice And Peace,
Several bills are pending in the Legislature that seek to recalibrate our policing system and help prevent another murder like Mr. Floyd’s from occurring.