NNJDSA’s Executive Committee voted to sign the Joint Statement put together by the BLM Paterson Chapter regarding another abuse of force by Ofc. Spencer Finch. The North New Jersey Democratic Socialists of America join with BLM Patterson and the rest of the coalition in demanding justice for all those who have been harmed and otherwise wronged by the police. An injustice to one is an injustice to all! – June 30, 2021

A coalition of civil rights organizations today condemned the most recent viral assault of a brutal and unprovoked attack by a Paterson police officer on a young Black man. The officer then proceeded to write a report on the incident that conflicted with what was captured on footage. This is not the first instance of police violence against communities of color living in Paterson nor will it be the last if there is no accountability.

That police officer, Spencer Finch, has been charged and placed on unpaid suspension. However, due to the current collective bargaining agreement between the city of Paterson and the Paterson Benevolent Association, after 30 days Finch’s unpaid suspension ends and he will be placed on paid administrative leave.

We are calling for an end to the practice of paid administrative leave while officers are under investigation.

The community is calling for the immediate firing of Spencer Finch. Far too often, officers are allowed the opportunity to retire with pension instead of immediately being fired.

We are calling for the firing of all police officers with excessive force complaints. Officer Finch had multiple lawsuits and complaints against him. Similarly, Paterson police officers Kevin Patino, and Kendry Tineo-Restituyo had multiple complaints against them before being arrested for brutalizing a young Arab man and falsifying reports. We cannot rely on viral videos to hold officers accountable because not all attacks have viral footage.

Community leaders and residents of Black and Brown communities have not only had to deal with trauma that comes with experiencing and witnessing police violence, they also have to constantly deal with the trauma of witnessing those that do harm not being held accountable.

Allowing officers who harm or violate the rights of residents to remain employed does not keep the community safe. Allowing officers with multiple excessive force complaints to remain on the force does not keep the community safe. Placing officers on paid administrative leave while under investigation does not keep the community safe.

We call on the City of Paterson to leave past practices in the past. We call on the city to do the work of changing these policies and practices that continue to allow officers to remain employed, even after harming its residents.