Police & Fire

Statement from McGehee, Maplewood Township Committee Members on Events of July 5, 2016

L to R: Frank McGehee, India Larrier, Vic De Luca, and Nancy Adams Credits: Anna Sandler
Frank McGehee, Maplewood Township Committee Credits: File photo

MAPLEWOOD, NJ - At the Maplewood Township Committee meeting on Tuesday night, August 1, the four members of the Township Committee who were present -- Mayor Vic De Luca, Deputy Mayor Nancy Adams, and committee members Frank McGehee and India Larrier -- made statements about Maplewood police actions following the fireworks display on the night of July 5, 2016.

Committee member Frank McGehee's spoke first, and his statement, in full, is below:

The events of July 5th 2016, are sickening and unacceptable. That evening, following our township’s celebration of the 4th of July, Black Children, who were gathered on Valley were herded like cattle out of Maplewood -- a town that many of these children call home.

Sign Up for E-News

There is no greater message that you are not welcome than being driven out of your hometown simply because of the color of your skin. When did being black become a qualifying factor regarding residency in Maplewood?

Leadership matters. The abuse of power and poor leadership bathed in racial bias on display that night is disgusting.

Were it not for the directive from those in the position of leadership, this particular act of excessive force would not of occurred.

Research shows that black children and particularly black boys are policed disproportionately like no other demographic. They are seen as “out of place,” virtually everywhere.

Research has also shown that adolescence is a critical time during which young people come to understand and respect or resent the law.

And as horrific as the July 5th event is, I do not want to paint our entire police department with a broad brush. Over the last several months, I have had the opportunity to work with many of these men and women directly to start the groundwork for a mentoring program for our young people. Several events have already taken place at Columbia High School and I am very concerned about the erosion of trust that the July 5th event has created and negative lasting effects going forward.

We like to believe that we live in a safe and nurturing environment for our children, but the acts of July 5th 2016 as well as other events in our town have brought a rash realization to many Maplewoodians that we are not the town that we think we are.

The claim that we are both diverse AND inclusive is aspirational, not a reality.

We all have work to do to live up to the claim that we are so proud to voice – that Maplewood is a community that represents equality - a welcoming community.

The actions we take today moving forward will define if we really are who we say we are. Changes need to be made at all levels including at the policy level.

When just last fall a five year old back child playing in one of our public parks is told “Only white people,” You have to pause and ask yourself where does that come from. We have work to do.

When we can justify the act of putting pictures on the wall of a public school building portraying a slave auction which is my opinion no different than human trafficking and call it education, there is no justification, it is simply unacceptable. We have work to do.

When a new resident is told that the town in which they now call home is also known as Maplegood, Maplewood and Maplehood, we have work to do.

And these are merely the examples that we know about because we have read about them in the press or on social media.

The directive of July 5 th 2016 was inexcusable and senseless. These are our children. I cannot help but think of my own black daughter and the pervasive emotional and physical toll that this event likely continues to have on the families who were directly involved.

No person regardless of a title, rank, or tenure is above the law. The law is designed to serve and safeguard all persons within our Township. Being black is not a crime and wrong is wrong.

Tonight I grab onto the arc of a moral universe and bend it just a little more toward justice.

McGehee's statement was echoed by the other committee members, with Larrier stating to the crowded room, "we have heard what you have said. We have taken to heart your words... we are giving it the serious reflection it deserves."

Adams stated, "this is not the town I live in, the town that I love... we need to make major changes. I look forward to your comments and discussions."

De Luca concluded the statements with a strong rebuke of police actions on July 5, 2016, adding that the behavior by police that night would not be accepted in Maplewood.  "We will right this ship and get it working again for all of us," said De Luca before calling for a vote of no confidence in Police Chief Robert Cimino, which passed unanimously, followed by the call for Cimino's resignation and for him to be put on administrative leave, effective immediately.

Related articles

Amidst Protests, Maplewood Officials Call for Immediate Resignation of Police Chief

6 Maplewood Police Officers Disciplined for July 5, 2016 Incidents

Maplewood Police Release Reports from July 5, 2016: Unruly Crowds, Pepper Spray Use, Attacks on Police

National Night Out Events Planned in South Orange and Maplewood Tuesday, August 1

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News



AtlantiCast Episode 17

On this week’s AtlantiCast, it’s National Men’s Health Month, so check out important health tips for you or the men in your life, learn about groundbreaking research into breast cancer treatment that could mean an end to chemotherapy for some patients, meet a local sports hero who’s living his baseball dreams thanks to Goryeb Children’s Hospital and much ...

South Orange Police Blotter - iPhone Reported Stolen from Basketball Courts

June 21, 2018

South Orange Police Blotter as of June 21

Burglary - The owner of a business on Vose Avenue reported that sometime between 12:45 p.m., Sunday, June 17,  and 10 a.m., Monday, June 18, actor(s) unknown forcibly gained access to the business through the front door, rummaged through cabinets and desks and removed some personal items (including Bose brand speakers ...

South Orange Police Blotter: Robbery Reported on South Orange Avenue

South Orange Police Blotter as of June 16

Robbery - An Alpha, NJ resident reported that he was robbed on Sunday, June 3, at approximately 12:30 a.m. while he was walking on South Orange Avenue near Scotland Road. The victim stated that he was approached by three unknown actors who punched him and knocked him to the ground. The actors then stole his cell phone and wallet ...

South Orange's Allyson Murphy Mobilizes Mothers in Newark to Protest Trump Family Separation Policy

June 23, 2018

NEWARK, NJ - A group of New Jersey mothers took time to come to Newark with the kind of loved ones recently taken from other mothers: their children.

"It's unconscionable that our government is stealing children from their parents and locking them up in cages," said Christina Liu, a Montclair mom holding her baby daughter, commenting on President Donald Trump's recent ...

SOMA Celebrates Pride with Painted Lampposts in South Orange and Crosswalks in Maplewood

SOUTH ORANGE AND MAPLEWOOD, NJ - Earlier this month, Maplewood celebrated Pride by painting rainbow crosswalks outside of Town Hall at the intersection of Oakview Avenue and Valley Street, which were unveiled with a celebration and ribbon cutting on Thursday, June 6.

Inspired by the Maplewood crosswalks, on Thursday evening, June 21, South Orange recognized Pride month by having community ...

Upcoming Events

Tue, June 26, 6:30 PM

Millburn Free Public Library, Millburn

Memoir Writing Class at Millburn Library

Arts & Entertainment


Fri, June 29, 7:00 PM

Par 440 Restaurant & Lounge, Short Hills

The Extra Rich In Class Dinner Show with E.R.I.C.

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink


Tue, July 3, 4:30 PM

Maplewood Memorial Park, Maplewood

First Time Ever July 3rd Circus Performances and ...

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink Other

Men’s Shul Softball League Unites in Livingston to Support Parkland Community

June 23, 2018

LIVINGSTON, NJ — The Men’s Shul Softball League, consisting of teams from temples throughout Livingston, West Orange, Short Hills and other neighboring communities in Essex and Morris counties, gathered in Livingston prior to regular play on Sunday morning in support of Make Our Schools Safe, an organization started by the parents of a Marjory Stoneman Douglas (MSD) High School ...

Lecia Bianca Jewels Creates a Bridge to Make Bloomfield Center the Next Style Destination

BLOOMFIELD, NJ - The Bloomfield Center renaissance continues as Lecia Bianca Jewels becomes a style destination on main thoroughfare in this Essex County Community. Lecia Clay, owner of the boutique, describes her jewelry as 'bridge jewelry,' - pieces that are in a space between costume jewelry and fine jewelry, while having value. 

'Lecia Bianca' is the ...

Newark Cop Convicted of Reckless Manslaughter for 2016 Fatal Shooting of Piscataway Man

June 22, 2018

UNION COUNTY, NJ – A Newark police officer was convicted of reckless manslaughter in the death of a man outside Paddy’s Place in Union in May 2016, acting Union County Prosecutor Michael A. Monahan announced Wednesday.

The officer, Joseph Macchia, 37, was convicted of fatally shooting 37-year-old Michael Gaffney of Piscataway following an argument and fight at Paddy’s ...

Westfield to Hold 3-Day ‘AddamsFest’ Celebrating Charles Addams and His Creations This Fall

WESTFIELD, NJ — It’s creepy. It’s kooky. And it’s taking over Westfield from Oct. 26 to Oct. 28. AddamsFest, a town-wide celebration honoring Westfield native Charles Addams and his most famous creations, The Addams Family, will be a destination event this fall with family-friendly activities, lectures, exhibits and film screenings, the town announced ...

South Orange Summer 2018 Student Leadership Institute

June 23, 2018

Program Overview and Application Form: (Deadline to Apply: Wednesday, June 27)

The Township of South Orange Village is pleased to offer students the opportunity to learn and practice leadership skills in the areas of local government and civic engagement where they will interact with a variety of elected officials, municipal departments, and community leaders.

The Student Leadership ...

Welcome To South Orange, Drive 25!

With very few exceptions, the speed limit throughout the Village is 25 miles per hour.

Along with barbeques, trips down the shore, and local ice cream runs, July and August mark the summer driving season. If you are driving in, or through South Orange, that means driving at 25 miles per hour. “Welcome to South Orange, now drive 25” says Lt. Michael Corrigan, the head of the SOPD ...

Weekly Specials at Ashley Marketplace - June 22 to June 28

Shop Ashley Marketplace & Cafe for your everyday needs!

This week's specials are:          

Chobani Yogurt 32oz $6.99
Friendly’s Ice Cream 48floz $3.99
Turkey Hero $5.99 ea (Deli)
Brad’s Blues Tortilla Chips  $2.99
Housemade Premade Lemonade 16oz $4.99 (Bakery)
Red Wax Gouda $5.99lb ...