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Newly launched data in Elizabeth probe supply peek into poisonous tradition of policing – New Jersey Monitor


Fourteen folks instructed investigators they heard Elizabeth’s now-former police director use racist and sexist slurs, with one veteran officer shrugging off the language as so widespread in policing it “was not one thing you marked down in your calendar,” based on an investigative report launched after a protracted public data struggle.

The small print within the 21-page report about former police director James Cosgrove’s habits — issued with quite a few redactions — present why there must be extra transparency round police disciplinary data, mentioned CJ Griffin, an lawyer who helped struggle all the best way to the New Jersey Supreme Court docket for the doc’s launch.

“It’s simply so damning to learn that one of many witnesses mentioned a poisonous office is a part of the career,” Griffin mentioned. “There’s a lot secrecy round inside affairs investigations and the office tradition will be so poisonous for officers that it turns into very exhausting for them to talk out.”

Cosgrove, a retired Newark officer who headed Elizabeth’s police division for over 20 years, resigned in April 2019 after a number of Elizabeth officers filed complaints about him.

The complaints prompted an investigation by the Union County Prosecutor’s Workplace, which sustained three allegations that he violated police division guidelines prohibiting discrimination and harassment within the office.

The workplace subsequently refused police reformer Richard Rivera’s request to see data detailing the allegations in opposition to Cosgrove and its investigative findings, so he sued for his or her launch. Griffin argued the case on Rivera’s behalf and in March the state’s excessive court docket sided with Rivera and ordered the data be made public.

Rivera couldn’t instantly be reached for remark.

Legal professional CJ Griffin has grow to be a number one crusader in New Jersey for extra transparency in policing. (Photograph courtesy of CJ Griffin)

The Cosgrove data present that lots of people have been conscious of the previous director’s habits and feared retaliation for talking out, Griffin mentioned.

“What the police departments have historically argued is that they want this secrecy as a result of nobody will communicate out if there’s not secrecy,” Griffin mentioned. “However now, they’ve secrecy — and nobody was talking out.”

Griffin has represented the New Jersey Monitor in varied authorized issues.

Investigators interviewed 19 folks about Cosgrove’s office habits, an investigative memo reveals.

5 reported that they’d by no means heard him use racist or sexist slurs. However 14 reported a variety of offensive habits, from loud, slur-riddled, anger-fueled outbursts and retaliatory threats in public settings to derogatory jokes and sexually suggestive feedback.

One detective, who himself was accused of utilizing sexist slurs, instructed investigators foul language is “a part of the enterprise.”

Investigators additionally interviewed Cosgrove, who instructed them he didn’t recall utilizing racist or sexist slurs “but when he did, it was within the warmth of the second.”

If somebody was offended, he instructed investigators, “he would gladly apologize to them.”

An Elizabeth spokeswoman didn’t reply to a request for remark.



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