Attorney General Matt Platkin announcing the state takeover of Paterson’s police department on March 27, 2023. Photo credit: Sophie Nieto-Munoz | New Jersey Monitor

After years of controversy and bad behavior, on Monday, the New Jersey State Attorney General’s Office seized control of the scandal-scarred Paterson Police Department.

At a press conference on Monday, state AG Matthew Platkin said his office would oversee and manage the daily operations of the Paterson PD, including the internal affairs division. He said, “Due to a number of events and concerns relating to the Paterson Police Department, there is a crisis of confidence in law enforcement in the City of Paterson.”

The announcement comes during the recent shooting of Paterson community activist Najee Seabrooks. The 31-year-old community activist was in a mental health crisis and killed during an encounter with the police earlier this month. He was shot and killed by two police officers after a five-hour standoff. Police claimed Seabrooks had lunged at them with at least one knife. His death has sparked numerous protests in the city of Paterson and beyond.

Killing of Paterson man spurs demand for more mental health aid during police calls

Imam Hamza Abdus Salam lost his son in a fatal motorcycle accident that involved two officers with the Paterson Police Department. Photo by Glenn Townes/NJ Urban News

As I followed the case, I was reminded of an interview I had several years ago with Imam Hamza Abdus Salam in Paterson. He is Muslim, a community activist, and a native of Paterson.

At the time, he shared a personal story about how his son, Randolph Waddy, was killed in a suspicious motorcycle crash that involved two Paterson police officers and how the Paterson PD did little to fully investigate the crime. The two officers involved were eventually charged with official misconduct. However, the Imam and others felt the charges weren’t enough. He also shared with me how he, along with hundreds of other people of color and others in the city, did not trust the police and, in many cases, did not see the men in blue as purveyors of peace and legality but instead viewed them as precipitators of chaos and illegality.

N.J. attorney general takes over Paterson Police Department 

Fast forward to now and the state’s control of the PPD. It further proves Imam Hamza Abdus Salam’s stinging criticism and dire prediction about the future of Paterson law enforcement was and still remains valid.

In a statement to the media on Monday, Paterson Mayor Andre Sayeh said the city would provide financial and other resources to build and reform the beleaguered force. “We will do everything we can to continue to improve our Police Department for the residents of Paterson,” he said.

By the way, more than a decade later, questions still linger about the death of the Imam’s son and the circumstances involving the tragic accident and the PPD’s involvement. 

I'm an award winning journalist based in Edison, NJ. My work has been featured in dozens of publications including, Black Enterprise magazine; ESSENCE magazine and Real Health magazine. I am also a featured...

Join the Conversation


  1. Their action I feel are due to very poor leadership from Andrea Sayegh and his entire administration

  2. I had an issue also with the police department also they arrested me on Feb 20 on false allegations my sister is bipolar schizophrenic and instead of them investigating they put me in jail for 2 days

  3. I was beaten by Paterson police years ago for breaking up a fight in which I was stabbed and nearly died due to the loss of blood. I was able to point out every cop to internal affairs and nothing ever happened to the officers nor did the city investigate the event. It was my 1st night back in Paterson after joining the ARMY. Paterson police department is a joke. This is what the city needed

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *