AG Platkin holds 1st meeting with Paterson community since taking over city’s police department

The residents voiced their concerns during a discussion about improving public safety for individuals suffering from mental health or intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Matt Trapani and Eliecer Marte

May 5, 2023, 2:23 AM

Updated 445 days ago

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New Jersey Attorney General Matt Platkin met with Paterson community members for the first time since his office took over the Paterson Police Department.
The calls for changes in the department have been growing stronger since the death of community activist Najee Seabrooks, who died after an encounter with Paterson police officers while he was suffering a mental health crisis.
The residents voiced their concerns during a discussion about improving public safety for individuals suffering from mental health or intellectual and developmental disabilities.
“So I plead to you all, to please put policy in place for mental health policies that do not involve sending a militant police force to respond,” said one resident.
“I have listened deeply to you all. I have heard you. I feel the pain that many of you feel as well,” Platkin said.
This is the first listening session since the state Office of the Attorney General took over the troubled police department on March 27.
“Honestly, there is a lot of hope, but the community, we are demanding change,” says Paterson Council Member Alex Mendez.
“Theirs is a lot of trauma felt by many people, in particular those who were close to, knew, or cared for Mr. Seabrooks,” Platkin said.
Other Paterson residents say that they want to see a reduction of gun violence in the city and to see trust return to the police department.
Incoming Officer-in-Charge Isa Abbassi was not present at Thursday’s meeting. But he says he plans to hold multiple listening sessions in different neighborhoods starting in a few weeks.


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