Newark seeks to declare hate groups as ‘terrorists,’ establish zero tolerance for racism by city employees

Posted Jun 06, 2020

White supremacist groups will be outlawed in Newark if a proposed ordinance is adopted by the city council in the coming weeks, officials said.

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka announced Friday that he would ask the Newark City Council to approve an ordinance that would denounce hate crimes and racism, police brutality and declare white supremacy groups as terrorists in the city.

“We are long overdue on a measure such as this,” Baraka said in a release. “For this country to heal, we must begin to legally challenge the insidious and dehumanizing tenets of white supremacy, once and for all. We must stand up forcefully against racism and have the courage to take on the legal challenges an ordinance such as this will attract.”

The city would create what Baraka called an office of violence prevention if the ordinance is adopted and it would be coordinated by an appointee of his choice, the mayor said.

The ordinance would do the following:

  • Manage policy initiatives and programs that advance the city’s anti-violence initiatives.
  • Use data to inform city’s investments in violence prevention.
  • Develop community-based anti-violence initiatives within all city departments.
  • Establish a “see something, say something, do something” policy to demand that all city employees immediately intervene and report blatant civil rights violations by other employees, including police and fire. All acts of racism by city employees will result in automatic termination and any employees who fail to take action if they witness these acts will also be terminated.
  • Establish a database or registry of hate groups now existing within the United States and add to that list as new groups are identified.
  • The ordinance will also declare these hate groups, including groups characterized as White Supremacists, Nazi groups, the KKK, as terrorists, ban them from Newark and make any actions by them illegal.

“This ordinance is no publicity stunt,” Baraka said. “These groups are a serious threat right here in New Jersey.”

The ordinance will also close the First Precinct of the Newark Police Division. The building will eventually be transitioned into a museum detailing the history of the Newark Police Department.

The mayor said that closing the precinct, which was originally the Fourth Precinct and the site where the 1967 Newark Rebellion began, would put it on a “new historic trajectory.”

“There is a negative history in that building,” Mayor Baraka said. “We are going to set it on a course of positivity.”

On July, 12, 1967, when two white officers arrested and beat black cab driver John Smith near the precinct and dragged him inside in front of a crowd of black residents in nearby public housing development.

The event sparked four nights of violent riots to city streets that left 26 people dead, 700 injured and $10 million in property damage.

It was in stark contrast of the peaceful protest held in the city late last month to rally against police brutality in the wake of George Floyd’s death at the hands on police in Minnesota.

It was unclear exactly when the ordinance will be introduced but Newark Corporation Counsel Kenyatta Stewart said the city will “welcome” challenges to the ordinance.

“You can’t enjoy free speech when you can’t breathe, and our first human right is to be able to live,” Stewart said in a statement.

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commented 2020-06-08 07:32:20 -0700
If they’re peaceful protests, you can’t declare it terrorism, even if it’s assholish. When you start doing that, the other side gets to declare your speech terrorism and all of free society breaks down.