South Orange Chief of Police Kyle Kroll will present a report to the South Orange Village Trustees on police use of force on January 28, in response to the Star-Ledger/NJ Advance Media “Force Report.”
In compiling the database known as The Force Report, Star-Ledger reporters filed hundreds of requests for information through the Open Public Records Act to obtain 72,677 documents from every local police department in New Jersey from 2012 through 2016.
The release of the report has caused a stir statewide — and locally. Maplewood and South Orange were “significant outliers” coming in high in reported use of force “particularly along racial lines.” Maplewood Township held a standalone meeting at The Woodland on Jan. 14 to address the report.
The agenda for the Jan. 28 South Orange BOT meeting simply states that there will be a “Presentation to the Board of Trustees by Chief Kyle Kroll of the South Orange Department of Public Safety/Police Force.” However, in December, South Orange Village President Sheena Collum confirmed to Village Green that this presentation would address the release of the Force Report and the numbers therein related to the South Orange Police use of force history from 2012-2016.
Star-Ledger reporter Steve Stirling described the data from South Orange at a meeting on Jan. 9 at Morrow Church that was sponsored by the Community Coalition on Race, SOMA Justice and SOMA Action. Stirling said that data showed that South Orange police used force in much higher percentages against persons of color than reflected in the population. In terms of race, based on population, Stirling reported that, according to the South Orange data, “a Black person was 844% more likely to have force used on them than a white person.” He added that force was 88% more likely for a Black person during the course of an arrest in South Orange. The South Orange data also showed that, for people under the age of 18, the use of force was above 20% — far above the state average. And that the number was the same for minors who were Black (21.3%); in fact, all instances of use of force on minors in South Orange were on Black youth.
Stirling reported that use of hands and fists by South Orange Police was more than twice the state average.
The South Orange Village Board of Trustees meeting will take place on Monday, January 28, 2019, at the South Orange Performing Arts Center, 1 SOPAC Way, South Orange, NJ. The public portion of the meeting should begin around 8 p.m. after the BOT comes out executive session. The meetings are broadcast on SOMAtv and live-streamed on southorange.com here.
How many times South Orange officers used force against people, NJ.com/Star-Ledger/NJ Advance Media