Last week, the New Jersey Senate passed legislation that will throw EVERY police officer who has to make the decision to use deadly force in front of a state-appointed special prosecutor. Under this legislation, a police officer who arrives at a school shooting incident in the nick of time and uses his firearm to stop a would-be mass murderer of children will be presumed to have done something wrong and then tossed in front of a persecutory special prosecutor.
This legislation -- S2469 -- could not become law without the support of two Republicans, Jennifer Beck and Gerald Cardinale. Without their votes, the bill would not have passed the Senate.
The premise behind this legislation is that county prosecutors -- just by existing within the borders of a particular county -- have too close a relationship with the police officers of that county and therefore cannot objectively investigate an incident when a police officer makes a mistake or oversteps his or her authority.
While this might be argued for states that elect their prosecutors, such as Pennsylvania, where police unions are active in that political process; in New Jersey all prosecutors are appointed by the same person -- the Governor. So whether you are a county prosecutor, appointed by the Governor, or the Attorney General, also appointed by the Governor, you do not run for election and there is no potential for that kind of conflict.
If a county prosecutor is too conflicted to investigate a matter within his jurisdiction simply because he or she lives and works there, then the whole idea of county prosecutors needs to be scrapped and replaced with something like the United Kingdom's Crown Prosecution Service, where attorneys are appointed to prosecute on a case-by-case basis. But the idea of dragging a police officer in front of a special prosecutor, simply because that officer did precisely what he or she was supposed to do in a deadly situation, is preposterous.
All this legislation will do is to create a species of state prosecutor whose worth will be determined by the number of police officers' scalps collected and careers destroyed. It will deteriorate the quality of police organizations and with that, the safety of every community in New Jersey.
The Assembly might consider a "sensitivity training" amendment for special prosecutor designees. It would include eight weeks of putting on a police officer's uniform, strapping on a sidearm, and engaging in day-to-day police work like traffic stops and domestic calls. Call it prosecutors' boot camp.
Just why two Republican Senators -- Beck and Cardinale -- would cross party lines to vote for this misguided legislation is open to question. We suggest that it is because they find the contemplation of labor unions and working people disagreeable. Senator Beck is a career politician and lobbyist, while Senator Cardinale is a politician with a profession, as well as the owner of a luxury property in the Caribbean.
According to a press release put out by the ACLU, Beck and Cardinale casts their votes on behalf of that organization as well as Black Lives Matter Morristown, Black Lives Matter Paterson, Black Lives Matter New Jersey, the Drug Policy Alliance, Garden State Equality, New Jersey Citizen Action, and the New Jersey Policy Perspective. Beck and Cardinale stood with the far-left to screw working police officers and their families.