[WATCH] NJ Police Chief Suspended After Black Teens ‘Herded Like Cattle’ Out of Their Own Town


MAPLEWOOD — Township officials have suspended the police chief and requested that he immediately resign after recordings were released showing police being ordered to push black township youth into a neighboring city.

The Township Committee took the action Tuesday night more than a year after four teens were arrested following a Fourth of July celebration. Officers were accused of using excessive force and teens complained that cops had forced them to march out of town — complaints that were proven true last week after the township finally released video from police dashcams and recordings of police radio transmissions.

Before Tuesday’s meeting, an officer involved in the incident had already been suspended for 17 days after the department found that he violated rules on the use of force. Five other officers are facing “formal discipline for violating department rules and regulations.”

In a rebuke of their department’s leadership, the township mayor and committee members on Tuesday suspended Chief Robert Cimino with pay for 60 days and suspended Capt. Joshua Cummis with pay for 30 days.

The committee also unanimously passed a motion of no confidence in the chief and requested that he resign immediately.

Additionally, the township hired Chicago-based law enforcement consultant Hillard Heintze to review the department’s policies and training and gather input from the community.

Neither Cimino nor Cummis could be reached for comment late Tuesday night. Cimino earns a base salary of $175,520 and Cummis earns a base salary of $161,386.

Maplewood is one of the most diverse communities in the state. But Committeeman Frank McGehee on Tuesday said the township’s diversity belies the lack of trust residents have with local institutions like the police department.

“Black children … were herded like cattle out of Maplewood, a town that many of these children call home,” he said. “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?”

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