New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal has acknowledged the state has for years failed to properly track and stop police officers who might be using unnecessary force during arrests, and he pledged wholesale reform to improve the system, reports NJ.com.
His comments came after the debut of :The Force Report,” a 16-month investigation by NJ Advance Media for NJ.com that found major disparities in how police officers use force and who they use it against, as well as paltry oversight and no standard reporting practices.
Praising the work as “nothing short of incredible,” he said the news service had “put together a database which has brought into it every use-of-force report that they were able to get in a five-year period in the state of New Jersey, and they digitized it so it can be analyzed.”
“That’s something that we should be doing,” he added.
The news organization filed 506 public records requests and invested more than $30,000 to collect and analyze 72,607 use-of-force reports from every municipal police department and the State Police from 2012 through 2016.
The report by a team headed by journalists Craig McCarthy and Sean Sullivan, who worked on the database as part of their 2018 John Jay/H.F. Guggenheim Justice Reporting Fellowship project, produced what they said may be the nation’s most comprehensive statewide database of police use of force.
When presented with NJ.com’s findings earlier this week, Grewal offered no defense of the current way local, county and state officials track police use of force, and said it was up to his office to fix statewide reporting, analysis and early intervention.