A little less than a month after cops brutally shot a crisis intervention worker during a heated exchange, members of the Paterson community will march Tuesday night against the takeover of the Paterson Police Department by the New Jersey Attorney General.
At a press conference, the Attorney General, Matt Platkin, said that his office had immediately acquired responsibility for all police duties, including the section that examines internal concerns pertaining to the police department. His message did not specifically address the killing of Najee Seabrooks, who was 31 years old, but it did reflect the worries of activists about the way the department was being managed.
“There is a crisis of confidence in law enforcement in this city,” he said. “Something has to change and it will change starting now. Earlier this morning I exercised my authority as attorney general and superseded the Paterson police department.”
There was a quick outburst of applause from the crowd, along with a number of individuals shouting “thank you.” According to Platkin, the takeover served as a “pledge” to both city citizens and police personnel that the state is dedicated to maintaining a safe environment in the city.
According to Platkin, Isa Abbassi, a veteran of the New York Police Department who has been there for 25 years and is now acting as the head of strategic initiatives, will assume command of the police department in Paterson in the month of May. In the meanwhile, a New Jersey State Police officer will take over as acting head of the department until a permanent replacement can be found.
It isn’t known how long the takeover would be. Platkin has said that he’s “in for the long haul.”
A day following the announcement of this takeover, members of Black Lives Matter Paterson and other local people will get together in front of city hall at six o’clock in the evening to rekindle cries for justice for their loved ones.
Paterson is the most recent department to be taken over by the Attorney General of New Jersey, and it is also the biggest of those departments. There are also three more departments in Union County, including the 11-officer Lavallette department.