JERSEY CITY, NJ — The Jersey City Police Officers’ Benevolent Association and the city’s branch of the NAACP joined forces at a rally outside City Hall yesterday to denounce the city administration’s “lack of transparency.”
Leaders from both groups lambasted Mayor Steve Fulop and his administration for what they claim is an “obvious pattern emerging out of City Hall.”
“For too long, City Hall has operated under a cloud of secrecy and we’re here today to push those clouds away and demand a new era of transparency,” said Carmine Disbrow, president of the Jersey City POBA. “We must stand together, say enough is enough.”
Both groups, which represent more than 700 city police officers and 900 members of the local NAACP, admitted the partnership was surprising, but said common ground was held by the goals of their two groups: to build a stronger and safer Jersey City.
Including NAACP and police union officials, up to three dozen people attended yesterday’s event. The Rev. Willie J. Keaton Jr., chair of the NAACP labor and industry committee, said, “We are not here expecting a perfect government, but we are here expecting a transparent government — knowing that when there is no transparency, the marginalized are the first group to suffer. And so we have to do better.”
Fulop has faced heat from a number of city groups recently over a controversial recording — obtained by The Jersey Journal from a source earlier this week — detailing a contract-steering allegation involving two former aides to the mayor in February 2014.
Disbrow also spoke at length of the contract dispute between the city and the police, telling The Jersey Journal that the way the dispute was handled goes “hand in hand” with the behavior of the administration. Meanwhile, Keaton spoke of problems for the NAACP such as gentrification, and that people on the south side of the city “live in harm’s way.”
“‘Why is the NAACP involved?’ is the question I’ve been getting … when there is no transparency, minorities will always get the short end of the stick,” Keaton Jr. said.
Leaders of both groups, joined by Councilman Chris Gadsden, said these examples are systemic of Fulop’s administration.
“For things to get better, the NAACP, the police, and City Hall have to work together in a culture of transparency,” Keaton Jr. said. “…This is about accountability.”
In response to the rally, city spokeswoman Jennifer Morrill said, “We believe that the small turnout today is because the police union membership is seeing that their union leadership has failed the membership and continues to fail them.
“That said, we will continue to be supportive of the police and NAACP,” Morrill added.
From The Jersey Journal