WYCKOFF, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — The Bergen County Prosecutor’s office ruled Tuesday that the police chief in Wyckoff violated directives against racially-influenced policing in a 2014 email.
The Township of Wyckoff will determine what action will be taken in the case.
Acting Bergen County Prosecutor Gurbir S. Grewal announced the results of an investigation by his office that stemmed from a Dec. 5, 2014 email from Wyckoff police Chief Benjamin Fox to his entire department.
The email said that profiling has its place in law enforcement when used correctly and applied fairly. It said officers should “check out suspicious black people in white neighborhoods” because “black gang members” from a nearby town commit burglaries in Wyckoff, a mostly white community.
The email also said the NYPD stops white kids in black neighborhoods because “they know they are there to buy drugs.”
“Police officers in New Jersey, including the dedicated officers of the Wyckoff PD, work tirelessly each day to gain and maintain public trust and confidence,” Grewal said in a news release. “Nothing undermines that effort more than allegations of racially-influenced policing. That is why Chief Fox’s e-mail, which clearly violated a long-standing and important Attorney General directive, required an immediate and thorough investigation. We now urge the Township of Wyckoff to review this matter and take appropriate action.”
Grewal and Wyckoff’s mayor announced in March that they had signed a memorandum of understanding and that Timothy Condon, a captain in the prosecutor’s office with 23 years’ experience in law enforcement, would act as a monitor to oversee the Wyckoff Police Department in the wake of the email.
Condon previously served as monitor of Hackensack’s police department, according to the prosecutor’s office.
After Condon was appointed, Fox took voluntary administrative leave and Wyckoff police Lt. Charles Van Dyk was named acting officer in charge. On May 3, the Township of Wyckoff changed Fox’s employment status to “suspended with pay,” prosecutors said.
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