Another Rodney King? Cops on trial dispute man's brutality claim

By Bill Wichert | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
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on October 21, 2015

Marcus Jeter, the alleged victim circles his raised hands in the photo, testifies, during the criminal trial of Bloomfield police officer Orlando Trinidad and Bloomfield police officer Sean Courter who are charged with official misconduct and related charges before Judge Michael L. Ravin in the Essex County Courthouse in Newark.

 

NEWARK — Marcus Jeter said he grew up watching Rodney King and other individuals of color become victims of police brutality.

On June 7, 2012, Jeter claims he became a similar victim when Bloomfield police officers falsely arrested him and assaulted him during a motor vehicle stop on the Garden State Parkway.

In explaining why he later spoke to the media, Jeter tied his experience to those other cases on Tuesday during his testimony at the trial of Bloomfield Police Officers Sean Courter and Orlando Trinidad, who are accused of making false statements in police reports about the incident.

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Test Scores Decline as New Jersey Aligns Exams With Common Core

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Foreclosures, Blight Still Too Familiar in Many New Jersey Cityscapes

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Christie's blind spot on our most vulnerable | Editorial

By Star-Ledger Editorial Board
on October 18, 2015

This isn't the first time his administration has mishandled people in crisis.

 

What a week this was for thousands of poor and unemployable people with disabilities, many of whom rely on oxygen tanks and wheelchairs or suffer from severe mental illnesses -- and learned they could soon be homeless, thanks to some bureaucrats who work for Chris Christie.

A state housing hardship program that had been paying most of their rent through vouchers is about to expire, and instead of arranging an alternative safety net -- as every other governor has done – his administration abruptly began cutting off their aid.

Some of the 3,000 people faced evictions and had hundreds of dollars drained from their bank accounts, because their rental vouchers suddenly didn't clear. It wasn't until late in the week, after initially defending its actions, that the state finally responded to the outcry from housing advocates and proposed a solution to buy these people more time.

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Essex County sets example for N.J. by backing banks that support low-income neighborhoods | Opinion

By Star-Ledger Guest Columnist
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on October 15, 2015

With the passage of an ordinance which will require banks and financial institutions receiving deposits of county funds to provide information regarding community reinvestment activities, the stage is set for responsible lending to increase in Essex County.

 

By Phyllis Salowe-Kaye

In the past week, with the full support of the County Executive, the Essex County Freeholders took an important step forward that should be emulated by every county and city in New Jersey. With the passage of an ordinance which will require banks and financial institutions receiving deposits of county funds to provide information regarding community reinvestment activities, the stage is set for responsible lending to increase in Essex County.

Congress enacted the Community Reinvestment Act in 1977 to encourage depository institutions to help meet the credit needs of low and moderate income neighborhoods. For over 30 years New Jersey Citizen Action has been a leader in New Jersey, working with banks to ensure they comply with the Act. NJCA has negotiated agreements with more than 30 institutions resulting in commitments of $40 billion in below-market rate mortgages, discounted home improvement loans, construction and permanent financing for nonprofit affordable housing developers and small business loans for women and minority-owned businesses

The ordinance should enable the county to flag an institution like Hudson City Bank, which recently agreed to pay $33 million to settle civil charges in a case of redlining, a practice where an establishment refuses a loan or insurance to someone because they live in an area deemed to be a poor financial risk. The action was brought jointly by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Consumer Financial Protection Board, which will not tolerate racial discrimination in the extension of credit.

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Appeals court reverses dismissal of NYPD Muslim surveillance case

 Ted Sherman | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
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on October 13, 2015

Farhaj Hassan, the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit brought against the NYPD on behalf of New Jersey Muslims, charging the long-running surveillance operation by the police in New Jersey was unconstitutional.

 

PHILADELPHIA — Citing the treatment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, a federal appeals court Tuesday reversed the dismissal of a high-profile discrimination case brought against the New York City Police Department over a secret surveillance program of Muslim businesses and houses of worship in New Jersey.

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals said the NYPD could not target a group solely on the basis of religion or ethnic background.

"What occurs here in one guise is not new. We have been down similar roads before. Jewish-Americans during the Red Scare, African-Americans during the Civil Rights Movement, and Japanese-Americans during World War II are examples that readily spring to mind," said the appellate panel "We are left to wonder why we cannot see with foresight what we see so clearly with hindsight—that loyalty is a matter of the heart and mind, not race, creed, or color."

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ID cards for unauthorized immigrants taking hold in N.J. and U.S.

By Tim Darragh | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
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on October 13, 2015

Residents gather with city officials Saturday at a Saturday kickoff ceremony for the Newark municipal ID program.

 

While illegal immigration has been the issue Donald Trump has used to rise to the top of Republican presidential polls, a program designed to benefit unauthorized immigrants — municipal identity cards — is continuing to gain acceptance in New Jersey and beyond.

Roselle is poised to become the latest community to adopt the cards, and in Perth Amboy, Highland Park and other communities in New Jersey, they are in some stage of consideration. Municipal ID cards are already available in Newark, Asbury Park, Trenton, Freehold and Mercer and Morris counties, among other places. 

The cards, which provide an individual's basic identity points  — name, date of birth, photograph, signature line and more — are critical to individuals who, for a variety of reasons, cannot get a driver's license, passport or other government issued ID.

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Baraka, Fulop among pols backing N.J. janitors' push for $15 wage

By Dan Ivers | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
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on October 13, 2015

Morristown mayor Tim Dougherty gets a handshake as as public officials back the Service Employees International Union 32BJ while they are working for a new contract in Newark.

 

NEWARK – A coalition of politicians, clergy and other leaders gathered in Newark Tuesday to push for a $15 per hour wage for thousands of janitors around the state.

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop and Plainfield Mayor Adrian Mapp were among the notable supporters for 32BJ SEIU as it kicked off contract negotiations with employers at the Hilton hotel by Newark Penn Station.

Those at the bargaining table for the union say they are fighting for not just higher wages, but more full-time jobs that will provide their members with much-needed healthcare benefits.

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More than 150 N.J. cops get bias training at NAACP conference

By S.P. Sullivan | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
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on October 08, 2015

New Jersey State Chiefs of Police Association President and Denville Police Chief Christopher Wagner, acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman, NAACP New Jersey Chapter President Richard Smith and NAACP Criminal Justice Chair Melvin Warren speak to reporters following a day day-long conference on “fair and impartial policing” in Princeton on Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015.

 

PLAINSBORO — More than 150 law enforcement officers joined about 30 leaders from the New Jersey chapter of the NAACP for a conference on "fair and impartial policing" Thursday. 

The voluntary training, which officials described as "historic," was part of the state NAACP's annual convention, held this year at the Westin in Plainsboro.  It was run by Noble Wray, a policing expert and former chief of the Madison, Wisc. police department.

Fair and impartial policing, or FIP, is a training method developed by law enforcement officials and social scientists.

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Board Hears Update on Status of Two State-Run School Districts

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