City Drops Suit to Stop Newark Paper from Running Corruption Probe

By: Joe Strupp A lawsuit to stop The Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J. from publishing elements of a confidential city police report has been withdrawn by Newark city officials, the paper reported Wednesday. The report allegedly "revealed widespread problems and corruption within the city's police department."

City attorneys withdrew the lawsuit almost two weeks after a judge dismissed a request for an immediate restraint against the Star-Ledger, describing it as "problematic on many levels," the paper reported. In a letter, Newark's first assistant corporation counsel, Danielle Torok, defended the decision to go to court.

"The City of Newark acted in good faith and firmly believed that it had an obligation to prevent the further dissemination of a highly confidential law enforcement report the disclosure of which could seriously jeopardize the safety and well-being of the citizens of Newark and the Newark Police Department," Torok wrote, according to the paper.

But, noting the Superior Court judge's May 25 ruling against the city, Torok said Newark chose to withdraw the litigation. Her letter followed a day after the Star-Ledger, "calling it a frivolous lawsuit," threatened to seek court and legal fees in the case.

City officials sought legal action after stories appeared in the paper detailing "the controversial findings of a consultant who concluded that the city's 1,300-member police department was badly trained, under-equipped and corrupted by years of political interference and patronage," the paper reported.

"Among the findings were a drug enforcement operation allotted just $500 a month for undercover buys," the paper added, "a shortage of patrol cars and junior officers with enough political muscle to threaten supervisors with demotion when their demands were not met."

The newspaper stated that the report was obtained "from sources after city officials refused repeated requests to release it under the Open Public Records Act."


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