State AG removes Union County prosecutor amid Elizabeth police scandal

Posted: Updated:

New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal has removed the acting Union County prosecutor from his position amid a scandal involving the Elizabeth police director.

Grewal is also calling on Elizabeth Police Director James Cosgrove to resign.

First Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Davenport will serve as acting Union County prosecutor, replacing Michael Monahan, who had been in the position for the past 15 months.

Monahan will return to the position he previously held in the attorney general's office prior to being assigned as the acting Union County prosecutor.

The shake-up comes after an investigation found that Cosgrove had for years used racist and misogynistic language and described his down staff in derogatory terms. The Union County Prosecutor’s Office conducted this investigation and has also taken over the Elizabeth Police Department’s Internal Affairs Division.

RELATEDGroup calls for Elizabeth police director to resign for using racist, misogynistic language 
Full statement from Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal 

Cosgrove, who has been police director for nearly 20 years, has yet to comment publicly on the two-month investigation, which was initiated after complaints from staffers inside the police department.

Grewal says that Davenport will ensure that the county prosecutor’s office will “exercise appropriate oversight of the Elizabeth Police Department and works to rebuild trust with the community.”

The attorney general also ordered an audit of the workplace culture inside the Elizabeth Police Department, along with hiring and personnel practices. Elizabeth police officers will also have new mandatory training on bias and sexual harassment.

"One of the core responsibilities of an effective law enforcement leader is to maintain the trust of the community he or she serves,” Grewal said in a statement. “Director Cosgrove has violated that trust and, in doing so, undermined confidence in our system of justice.”

Grewal does not have the power to fire Cosgrove. It would be up to Elizabeth Mayor Chris Bollwage or the Elizabeth City Council.

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