The U.S. Justice Department reached an agreement with the city of Newark, New Jersey, the largest city in the state, for federal oversight of the city police department. The Newark Police Department had been found repeatedly to violate the rights of its citizens, especially blacks, and it became the 13th police department in the nation to submit to federal oversight following discovery of a pattern of unlawful activity.
The federal review found that police failed to provide sufficient reason in 75 percent of its pedestrian stops. Blacks make up 54 percent of the city’s population, but accounted for 85 percent of pedestrian stops and nearly 80 percent of arrests. In addition, more than 20 percent of police use of force was found to be unreasonable under law. Thefts by officers were also found to occur from those arrested.
Under the agreement, the city promises to train officers on how to carry out stops and arrests that are constitutionally permissible. The federal review also documented so-called “contempt of cop” arrests, used to describe people charged with a crime solely because they lawfully objected to police actions or were disrespectful. The monitoring will continue until the U.S. Justice Department is satisfied that remedial changes have been made.
You are hired to develop the ethics component of the reforms to be introduced in the Newark Police Department. Explain how you would incorporate specific ethical principles in some systematic way to police training and accountability.
Resolve the dilemma using the ethical decision making framework presented at the end of CH 1:
(1) Begin with an open mind;
(2) Identify what you believe are the important facts, and
(3) objectively evaluate the issues based on moral rules. The moral rules should be from the ethical system with which you most closely identify.