Union: Police, Firefighter Layoffs In Newark Empower Gangs

AMES FORD (WPIX) | October 29, 2010
NEWARK, N.J.  — A lawsuit claims that gang members are not only counting down to a deadline for police and firefighter layoffs in Newark, they’re actually passing out t-shirts emblazoned with the layoff date.

On November 12th, New Jersey’s largest city is slated to lay off 96 firefighters and 167 police officers. One hundred-twelve police captaiins, lieutenants and sergeants are also scheduled to be demoted as part of the layoff plan designed to help Newark bridge an approximately $83 million budget gap.

The unions representing firefighters, police officers and police supervisors filed the lawsuit on Wednesday. It claims in part that gang members are boldly sporting the shirts with the November 12 date printed on them.

The firefighters’ union created a commercial that warns Newark residents that “your lives and the lives of your family and friends are in serious danger” over the layoffs.

The police union created a postcard to be mailed to residents saying that, according to FBI crime statistics, “the last time Newark fired cops, crime went up 28 percent.”

That information jibes with comments some Newark residents made to PIX 11 News. “We need our police and firefighters, ” 50-year resident James Sanders said. “When they cut cops in the past, under [former Mayor] Kenneth Gibson we had crime. It went up.”

However, the city’s crime statistics indicate that violent crime has dropped in Newark over the last four years. Those statistics, though, do show that murders in Newark are up 25 percent this year, even though the city of 280,000 had no murders in the entire month of March. It was the first time Newark had experienced no murders in a calendar month in two generations.

Article continues at: http://www.chicagotribune.com/topic/wpix-newark-layoffs,0,2727344.story

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