A city in turmoil
Paterson is a monument to machine politics in America. While the good times roll for politicians, entire communities have been destroyed by corruption. Incomes are dropping, apartheid schools are increasing, and infrastructure is crumbling for the ordinary residents of Paterson. The model of championing certain parts of a beleaguered rust belt city and abandoning the rest is simply racial segregation by another name. Not surprisingly, Paterson is one of the most violent cities in the country. During a federal investigation, Paterson police officers admitted to dealing drugs, robbing and beating citizens, and illegally stopping and searching drivers. Paterson is a city in turmoil.
On January 5, 2019, Jameek Lowery (1) walked into a Paterson police station, (2) live streamed a video in which he repeatedly asked police officers for water and to not kill him, (3) entered an ambulance where police officers used physical force and compliance holds to secure him, and (4) arrived at the hospital in an unresponsive state with severe facial injuries. Jameek Lowery died in the hospital within two days. When peaceful protestors gathered outside Paterson City Hall for days to demand answers, Paterson police used mace and arrested the leaders of the protests. Regardless of the cause of death in this case, walking into a police station should not be the last conscious act of any person in America.
Criminal justice reform
Police violence against unarmed minorities led to the deaths of countless men and women around the country. Black men are sentenced to 19% more jail time for committing the exact same crime as white men, and black Americans are jailed at more than five times the rate of whites. We have more people in jail than any other country on earth. We need real criminal justice reform both for our district and for America.
We will bring about major police department reform. We will reform civil asset forfeitures. We will end the war on drugs, and replace jail with treatment for minor drug offenses. We will abolish the death penalty and end all mandatory minimums. We will eliminate private prisons and detention centers, which are financially incentivized to hold as many people for as long as possible.