PATERSON, NJ - For decades, law enforcement from Paterson’s offspring cities, Woodland Park, Prospect Park and Elmwood Park have notoriously been branded as profilers of urban drivers entering their towns.
At Tuesday night’s regular meeting, Paterson Councilman Ken Morris presented personal color photographs of a Woodland/West Paterson traffic stop, which he said clearly illustrates the Council’s concern with regard to neighboring communities urban profiling the city of Paterson. “This is photographic proof in my opinion that it is occurring,” Morris stated.
According to Morris’s detailed description, the corner of Glovers and Squirrel Wood Roads lead to both Route 80 East and West.
“It is clear at the right hand turn, the West Paterson police are set up in such a way that their line of site is directed solely towards the city of Paterson. Their patrol vehicle is situated so that that his line of site is on the off ramp leading into the city of Paterson and is not located on the off ramp leading into West Paterson,” he explained.
After allegedly receiving word via telephone about possible litigation from neighboring Woodland Park and Haledon, Paterson’s Legal Department interrupted Morris’s descriptive presentation. Council members were then advised, that without concrete data, to “tread lightly” in its conversations about this or other similar incidents.
“In my opinion [Morris continued] the way these police officers are set up, we can see the way the W. Paterson, patrol officers, [ I don’t recognize Woodland Park] vehicles are situated, they seem to have line of site only to those cars exiting Paterson and going into West Paterson.
Pointing out that police officers’ backs were turned towards W. Paterson drivers traveling towards Paterson he commented, “They are not even looking in the direction of Paterson, a clear indication in my opinion that they are targeting those folks coming out of the city of Paterson.”
“If in fact you are looking to promote Motor Vehicle Safety in your community, a driver with an expired sticker or paper work has an easy exit off Route 80 West. I ask that people look at these photographs and form their own opinions.”
“With this issue of litigation, I don’t know about you, but, I’m getting extremely exhausted when folks know they are in the wrong, the first thing they threaten is litigation if you attempt to bring it to the public’s attention.”
“To be quite honest, I welcome litigation in this matter, because you know what happens then we get to have discovery,” Morris emphasized, “That Discovery consists of; every traffic ticket they wrote at this intersection, where they are setting up other sub stops, how many tickets are written in a period of time and how many are Paterson and non-Paterson residents."
“Let a court of our peers with evidence such as this, show, that they are systematically in my opinion targeting Paterson residents,” Morris concluded.