Paterson police officials sue NJ attorney general for taking over department
A lawsuit has been filed against state Attorney General Matthew Platkin that if successful, could overturn the state’s control of the Paterson Police Department.
The suit was filed by Chief Englebert Ribeiro and acting Police Director Mirza "Mark" Bulur. They claim that state officials violated the New Jersey constitution when they took over the department and that the state overstepped its authority.
A spokesperson for Platkin told News 12 New Jersey that the lawsuit was "as unfortunate as it is meritless."
Mayor Andre Sayegh is in support of the lawsuit.
"There is not a single state in this country that allows an attorney general to take over the police department. We need to know if that is legal in New Jersey, and that is why it is going to court,” the mayor says.
The New Jersey Office of the Attorney General added that the authority to supersede local law enforcement agencies is well established. And given the history in Paterson, the need to do so was clear.
The lawsuit was filed 10 days after Platkin highlighted the progress of the police department and the reduction in violent crime since the takeover seven months ago.
"Prior to this takeover, we were making drastic changes. I fired the police chief late last year and the new chief only had about three weeks on the job to implement some of the reform measures. But didn't get a chance. He was exiled to Trenton with his $225,000 salary,” Sayegh says.
The department has been marred by scandals in recent times, including the shooting death of community activist Najee Seabrook at the hands of police officers earlier this year.