CJ Griffin Quoted in Opinion of Star Ledger Editorial Board on the Need for Legislative Action to Achieve Police Transparency
CJ Griffin, Director of the Justice Gary S. Stein Public Interest Center at Pashman Stein Walder Hayden, was quoted in an Opinion of the Star Ledger Editorial Board, “Until lawmakers act, real police transparency is a rumor.” The Opinion discusses the recent directive issued by the New Jersey Attorney General requiring police departments to create a summary report for public release upon request, which report details certain police misconduct. While noting that the new directive cracks the window open a little wider on Internal Affairs reports, the Opinion concluded that the synopsis required by the new directive is not real transparency, which can be achieved if the state legislature takes action on a long-stalled bill that makes carefully redacted IA documents accessible to the public like all government records.
Until that happens, CJ Griffin, the police transparency expert, shall remain unimpressed: “Transparency means access to an actual document -- not this sanitized version that they create as a summary for what the public gets to know,” the Pashman Stein attorney said.
“Everyone knows police narratives aren’t reliable. We had a long battle to get some real transparency in terms of accessing IA reports, and here we are, back to where we’re just going to get more police narratives.”
It was Griffin who led that battle, winning a landmark case before the state Supreme Court which unanimously ruled that IA records must be released when the public’s interest outweighs confidentiality concerns, under certain circumstances….
While Griffin says that Platkin has hijacked the process, the AG claims that the summaries will be more efficient. His directive will provide a framework that will guide agency responses for IA requests – from the press or the public or reform advocates -- and if the cop’s misconduct falls within one of the major offense categories, a synopsis will be provided.
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