Governor Phil Murphy has announced that Gurbir Grewal, currently Bergen County Prosecutor, is set to become New Jersey's next Attorney General. Mr. Grewal's parents came to the United States from a Sikh upbringing in India, so he is about to become our first state Attorney General of a South-Asian background.

While New Jersey's mosaic is affirmed by Mr. Grewal's appointment, there is much reform needed and I sincerely hope that the diversity in his background translates to real change in New Jersey policing. Hate crimes are a problem, but the biggest bigots wear blue uniforms with badges.

Human rights abuses, constitutional violations, false arrests, and torture are well known problems as a result of New Jersey’s toxic law enforcement culture, and various minority groups are frequently victimized by uneducated, bigoted police officers. Police departments act as occupying militarized forces in our communities, with women, religious/ethnic minorities, and LGBT people being significantly underrepresented and facing workplace harassment.

New Jersey needs to put an end to every town having it's own fifedom police department, dissolve the racist New Jersey State Police, and build a single statewide professional police force, that puts harm reduction and restorative justice over arrest quotas. Police officers should face higher education requirements and proportionally represent our diverse communities. Police officers should act as social workers, not soldiers. FOP/PBA "courtesy" cards must be banned as a form of bribery, and the omerta-like "Blue Wall" must be bulldozed down.

Grewal must prosecute the Monmouth County Corrections Officers responsible for the 2010 homicide of Amit Bornstein in the County Jail, and reopen the 1970s case in which Black Feminist icon, Assata Shakur was wrongfully convicted of a murder that the lack of gun powder on her hands, and her own injuries from being shot, proves she did not commit.

I wish to congratulate Mr. Grewal on his appointment, and urge him to work with the ACLU, NAACP, Garden State Equality, and Drug Policy Alliance to build a new, fairer model of policing for the nation. Black Lives Matter!

 

Eric Hafner
Toms River, New Jersey