CJ Griffin Quoted in NJ.com Regarding Need for Access to Police Internal Affairs Reports
CJ Griffin, Partner and Director of the Justice Gary S. Stein Public Interest Center at Pashman Stein Walder Hayden, was quoted in a NJ.com article, “90 days suspension for 2 N.J. cops is a slap on the wrist when a man is still missing.” The article discusses the need for disclosure of police internal affairs reports in order to determine whether disciplinary sanctions are fair.
Attorney CJ Griffin, a leading public records expert, says because “for so long, police discipline here in New Jersey has been so shrouded in secrecy,” it’s difficult for us, as the public, to ascertain whether this punishment is fair.
“That needs to change,” [Griffin] said. “We need full access to Internal Affairs and disciplinary records so that we can measure if this is fair. Is this suspension too short or too long? And how does this punishment compare to that of other officers with similar violations in other departments, in other states ... we need that information because otherwise, we don’t know systemically how it’s functioning.”
But the punishment for wrongfully turning off body cameras alone should be much more significant, [Griffin] added.
“The fact that they turned off their cameras,” Griffin says, “causes the public, and particularly the family in this case, to rightly have serious suspicions about what happened and lose trust in police.”