Racist remarks earned Newark cop his pink slip | Editorial

By Star-Ledger Editorial Board
on October 07, 2015

The Newark Police Department had another workforce reduction last week, and for once, this is something that should be applauded.

Lt. Anthony Caruso, a 23-year veteran, was fired for taking part in a Facebook conversation that compared Mayor Ras Baraka with a gorilla back in July.

Baraka's job is hard enough without having to serve with people who resent his skin color. But it's not about that. It's not even about Caruso violating the department's social media policy.

This is mostly about the public trust in an institution which, far too often, has demonstrated a determination to remind an entire race of people of its inferiority and vulnerability.

And each time that happens, the institution committed to protect and serve loses credibility.

In one sophomoric, racist keystroke, Caruso has further damaged that credibility. At a time when trust in police is at its nadir throughout the country – but especially in Newark, where the department is under federal monitor for "a pattern of unconstitutional policing" – this is intolerable.

And as Police Director Eugene Venable noted in July, "What's particularly disturbing about this incident is that this police official has been on the job for many years and has some amount of influence over the rank and file in the department."

Exemplary behavior goes with the badge. Positive modeling goes with the badge. Social responsibility and respect for authority go with the badge. Disagree with any of that, and be prepared to relinquish the badge.

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