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Monday, April 11, 2016

Update: VICE Releases Documentary Regarding Bloomfield Police


Bloomfield, New Jersey: A documentary regarding the Bloomfield Police Department (BPD) was released on Monday.

'Driving While Black' was produced by VICE News, and discusses alleged racial profiling by Bloomfield Police officers. The film is based on a new report from Seton Hall Law's Center for Policy & Research. 

"Bloomfield Police policing patterns suggest a de facto 'border patrol'", the study says, adding that "by plotting out ticket incidence and frequency, one can see what essentially amounts to a 'wall' of police erected against the Newark and East Orange border areas and their predominantly African American and Latino residents". 

Two Bloomfield Police officers were found guilty in 2015 of several charges including official misconduct and falsifying and tampering with public records.

"We really do not see our police officers racially profiling anyone is this township, if we did, we would be way out in front of it", said BPD director Samuel DeMaio, the former Newark Police director, in VICE's trailer for the film.

VICE News and Bloomfield's police union did not respond to requests for comment.

"The men and women of the Bloomfield Police Department work extremely hard every day and do an outstanding job of keeping our community safe", said Mayor Michael Venezia in a statement to Essex County Place, adding that "when I became Mayor we instituted new procedures, reforms and technologies that have contributed to a 28% overall reduction in crime -- a statistic we can all be very proud of -- as well as measures designed to enhance community policing and build trust between officers and residents of all racial and ethnic backgrounds. While we are disappointed in the outcome of this study and do not believe that it reflects a complete and accurate assessment of our police department, we would welcome the authors to meet with members of our local government, police department and our African American and Hispanic communities to discuss their findings and look for common ground and opportunities to keep improving."

Click here to watch the film.

-This story has been updated to reflect the release of the film on Monday-

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