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Newark Police Didn’t Fire a Shot In The Line of Duty All Year, But How?

Newark announced no officer fired his or her weapon in the line of duty last year. That's almost unbelievable. Almost.

Last week a story was dropped that you may have missed as it was overshadowed by the end of the year deluge of “best of” fan lists and the slow fading afterglow of the election season timebomb and the piss poor $600 a lot of us got in response for our pandemic troubles.  

New Jersey News 12 reported that the Newark Police Department and city officials announced that the NPD officers didn’t fire a shot at a suspect during the ENTIRE year of 2020. 

Newark, NJ, the long shunned largest city in New Jersey, the most densely populated state in America, the same Newark that white folks fled in vast numbers in the late 70s, the same Newark that is constantly included on every quasi-racist/classist “Murder Capital of the America” list dating back to the 80s went an entire year without an officer shooting at a suspect? 

If these numbers are to be believed, yes.   

Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose cited the strain of losing six officers to COVID and the mounting obstacles these 1,077 police officers under his watch overcame in praising them for this (I’m assuming historic) statistic.  

Newark is nearly half Black and has a long history of Black cultural excellence. But this is something else entirely. Is it a Black mayor (Ras Baraka), a Black police chief (both the outgoing Chief Darnell Henry and incoming Captain Lee Douglas) and a large Black population base weary of police-involved shootings that made this anomaly possible?

Well, it certainly wasn’t the PTA.

Indeed, as their NYPD boys in blue complain and finger point about record murder rates and shootings, throughout 2020 Newark officers also celebrated a six percent drop in overall crime with less than half the budget of the NYPD.

Now, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention how the population bases are statistically, racially and economically at differing ends of the big city spectrum.

But I do believe Newark’s success in this instance had a great deal to do with having city and law enforcement who actually give a damn about the people they’re policing, which admittedly would be a logistical nightmare given the 8 million souls residing in the five boroughs.

But a brother can dream.

Just shut up and let a brother dream.

This doesn’t erase the fact that Black folks are still more likely to be pulled over than whites or that they’re more likely be the victims of excessive force in Newark. But it’s a notable historic milestone nonetheless.

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