MAPLEWOOD, NJ - Maplewood Police Capt. Joshua Cummis, who was placed on leave last month for his part in the July 5, 2016, incidents of police abuse, is retiring with more than $37,000 in compensation.
The Maplewood Township Committee (TC) Tuesday night unanimously approved a resolution that gives Cummis $37,218.27 in compensation, including more than $14,000 in compensatory time and more than $22,000 in vacation credits. That includes more than $10,000 in vacation for 2018.
Cummis and Maplewood Police Chief Robert Cimino were both placed on paid administrative leave August 1, just days after audio and video recordings from July 5, 2016, indicated police had apparently abused some residents following the fireworks display that night. The governing body also asked Cimino to resign.
Six officers were disciplined for their actions on July 5, 2016, including one who was suspended for 20 days.
Maplewood Township has also hired an outside consultant, Hillard Heintze of Chicago, to review the July 5 incidents and the township’s overall police procedures. Maplewood Mayor Vic Deluca said Tuesday that that report is expected by mid-September.
Cimino has yet to resign and the TC last night had no new information on his future status, although they did go into closed session following the meeting and it is believed that his situation was among the items discussed.
Also at Tuesday’s meeting, several local community groups submitted a list of demands to the Township related to police actions.
The groups SOMa Justice, Black Parents Workshop, MAPSO Freedom School, SOMa Action, and the Community Coalition on Race issued the joint list of demands, which included:
- Firing or demoting all police officers disciplined for their actions on July 5, 2016.
- Creating a police civilian affairs unit to deal with large-scale public events.
- Including community members in a national search for a new police chief.
The group also requests an end to arrests for minor “broken windows” offenses, including, public consumption of alcohol, marijuana possession, disorderly conduct, trespassing, loitering, disturbing the peace, spitting, jaywalking, and bicycling on the sidewalk.
Cimino “wasn’t the one who used chemical agents on children trying to get home, he wasn’t the one who kicked a teenager in the head or looked the other way when it happened,” said Khadijah Costley White, one of the community group leaders who submitted the demands and spoke at the meeting. “He might have issued orders that night, but he wasn’t the one that chose to follow them.
“So tonight, I come to submit a list of recommendations for reorganizing our current police department and culture,” she added. “You will see that we think it is time for more community input on policing, better training, improved protocols on crowd management, and civilian oversight … We are serious about these recommendations. We can’t risk one of our children being killed by a local police officer after going to see fireworks in a local park. We simply cannot.”