Tuesday, May 28, 2024

NJ Police Chief Demoted After Email Showed He Encouraged Cops to Racially Profile

Wyckoff, NJ Police Chief Benjamin Fox
Wyckoff, NJ Police Chief Benjamin Fox

*A New Jersey police chief has been suspended and demoted after prosecutors found that an email he sent in 2014 violated a state directive prohibiting racial profiling.

According to NBC New York 4, Wyckoff Police Chief Benjamin Fox has been demoted to patrolman and will serve a 180-day suspension after prosecutors uncovered the email in which he said profiling has its place in law enforcement if done correctly.

The email to his department stated that police should “check out suspicious black people in white neighborhoods” because “black gang members from Teaneck commit burglaries in Wyckoff.” NBC New York 4 notes that Wyckoff “is a mostly white suburb, 30 miles west of New York. He said that New York police stop white kids in black neighborhoods there because ‘they know they are there to buy drugs.’”

Acting Bergen County Prosecutor Gurbir Grewel launched an investigation into the email, which had been released by the American Civil Liberties Union’s New Jersey chapter.

Announcing the results of his investigation Tuesday, Grewal cited a 2002 directive by the state attorney general that prohibits law enforcement agencies from engaging in racially influenced policing.

He also said his investigation did not reveal any substantiated instances of racial profiling or find that Wyckoff police either encouraged or condoned racial profiling.

He urged township officials to take action, and the town responded by suspending and demoting Fox. Mayor Kevin Rooney reiterated in statement on Wednesday that there was no widespread issue of racial profiling in the town’s police force.

Fox, who has denied wrongdoing, was suspended with pay in May after the 40-year law enforcement veteran agreed to go on administrative leave in March.

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