North Jersey News Roundup for June 8, 2020

State officials are worried about a potential spike in COVID-19 cases in New Jersey due to protests and marches over the death of George Floyd. “I want to make sure everybody who is protesting out there does it peacefully and does it responsibly, including watching out for their health and the health of those with them,” said Gov. Phil Murphy.

Gov. Phil Murphy joined the protest of police abuses in the wake of George Floyd’s death. The governor, along with First Lady Tammy Murphy, took part in events in Hillside and Westfield June 7. News12 New Jersey

A dozen new confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Pennsylvania were traced to recent Jersey Shore “beach house gatherings.” The Bucks County’s Health Department reported 11 cases tracing back to a New Jersey resident “who attended multiple house gatherings at the shore during the past two weeks.”

Sen. Cory Booker and other congressional Democrats are preparing legislation designed to curb police abuses. The new police reform bill being drafted by House and Senate Democrats would ban chokeholds, limit “qualified immunity” for police officers, create a national misconduct registry, end the use of no-knock warrants in drug cases and make lynching a federal crime among other changes. PoliticoNJ

The state’s Attorney General office issued guidance banning chokeholds and neck restraints by police except in cases where the use of deadly force is necessary. The guidance in a two-page memo to the 21 county prosecutors includes instructions on respecting journalists in the field and listening to community protesters.

The family of a 28-year-old black man killed by a New Jersey State Police officer on the Garden State Parkway in May wants answers from authorities. Attorney General Gurbir Grewal recently stated his office was withholding details to maintain the integrity of the inquiry and would release video after the investigation is substantially complete, while the state’s Department of Health medical examiner report will not be be released until it is finalized. The Wall Street Journal

The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission facilities closed since March due to the COVID-19 crisis will begin a phased reopening June 15. In order to limit crowds and speed services during the phased reopening, the agency has designated locations into two centers—Licensing and Vehicles.

Former Gov. Tom Kean would like to see an investigation into COVID-19 crisis similar to the probe by the 9/11 commission he chaired after the 2001 terrorist attacks. Kean said he is willing to lead the investigation.

New Jersey prisoners denied a medical furlough or parole in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic have the right to appeal these determinations and courts must decide on individual appeals within a week of their filings, the state Supreme Court recently ruled. The court found it did not have the authority to order the expanded release, including of those whose sentences expire within a year, as requested by ACLU-NJ and the state public defender’s office. NJ Spotlight

A furlough program for 450 employees was agreed to by one of 19 unions that formed a coalition to defend jobs lost and threatened at Rutgers University. The tentative agreement within the Division of Institutional Planning and Operations and the Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center accounts for about half of the jobs that were threatened, according to coalition reports. The Record

Fair Share Housing Center recently filed a lawsuit against Hoboken over amendments to the Western Edge Redevelopment Plan. The lawsuit alleges the amendment exempting an additional 150 units from the city’s 10% affordable housing set aside requirement violates the city’s master plan. Hudson Reporter

Ten racehorses on their way to New York from Florida were killed on the New Jersey Turnpike June 7 when the tractor-trailer they were riding in hit a concrete median and burst into flames. One of the horses was sired by the Triple Crown winner American Pharoah and another by the Belmont Stakes winner Tonalist. The New York Times

And finally…Yeshivat Noam Middle School in Paramus is offering a mobile graduation that comes straight to the students’ homes. The Record

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