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The investigation stems from dozens of complaints from area residents regarding blatant civil rights violations and other issues. Sellinger said the expansive investigation will examine if systemic violations of the Constitution and federal law have occurred by the TPD.

“If police officers abuse the trust the community places in them and fail to respect the constitutional right of those in the community … it undermines public safety and endangers the very citizens they swore to protect and serve,” Sellinger said in a press statement on Tuesday. He added that his office has received countless complaints and reports that the TPD may have used excessive and unnecessary force and racially profiled individuals when making stops, seizures and arrests.

However, this is not the first time the TPD has been under fire in recent months. For example, several TPD members were accused of lying, falsifying payroll records and stealing overtime in April. At least two were senior law enforcement officials with annual salaries at or near $200,000. Additionally, a park ranger was charged with theft by deception and official misconduct for lying about where and how long he worked. Those investigations are still underway and could jeopardize the pension benefits of the officers.

According to sources, the possibility of the TPD being seized and managed by the state Attorney General’s Office continues to be a real possibility. For example, in March, Attorney General Matthew Platkin announced his office would oversee and manage the daily operations of the Paterson Police Department. At the time, Platkin 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.”

Similar sentiments echo in the city of Trenton. Bill Kearney, administrator for the popular website, Trenton Orbit, said, “This is long overdue. It {corruption and civil rights violations} has been happening for decades and not one Mayor has demanded corrective action. Ultimately, the Mayor allows this kind of culture to exist and flourish.”

In response to the Justice Department’s announcement, Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora said he has instructed all levels of city government to cooperate with the investigation fully. He lauded “the overwhelming majority of officers at the city, county and state level who do the right things every day to keep Trentonians safe.” However, he added, “If any members of law enforcement violate the public trust or act in contravention of our state and federal laws, they should and must be held accountable.”

Kadja Manuel, a former candidate for the Trenton City Council and outspoken city activist, said, “I encourage everyone that has been targeted, retaliated against or met with force to email the Justice Department.”

Individuals with relevant information are encouraged to contact the Justice Department via email at or by phone at 973-645-2801.

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1 Comment

  1. I think is great doing something about it I live in Trenton for 25 years we are not doing any better I can see TPD do not apply the law the way it should be we as people need to trust the law inforcement oficers. It doesn’t happen do to the way they apply the law. Thousands of people driving with out driving license hit and rounds. Are every day thing. Do to the fac they don’t have car insurance. Thank for the opportunity to express my self

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