NBPD ordered to produce violent crime information after lawsuit filed by Charlie Kratovil

The mayoral candidate has won two major victories for police transparency, setting a precedent by strengthening NJ’s Open Public Records Act (OPRA)

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ— Mayoral candidate Charlie Kratovil scored two major victories for police transparency in court cases filed before declaring his candidacy.

This is the latest in a string of transparency victories for Kratovil, who served as a community newspaper editor for more than a decade and has repeatedly used the Open Public Records Act (OPRA). to investigate the city government and its response to violent crime.

The City of New Brunswick and the New Brunswick Police Service must produce information relating to 20 aggravated assaults, including those involving shooting, according to a decision by a panel of judges of the Court of Justice call.

Panel partially overturned a trial court ruling in the 2021 Kratovil lawsuit that found the New Brunswick town was not required to provide information about the 20 assaults, including the types of weapons involved . The city had previously said it would voluntarily release the information, but did not, according to the appeals court ruling.

“It shouldn’t take more than a year and a Court of Appeal case to get this basic information, but I won’t stop fighting until our police department is transparent, accountable and proactive. in preventing violent crime and protecting the people of New Brunswick. said Kratovil.

In addition to requiring the city to produce information related to the weapons used in the assaults, the appeals court ruling found that city officials violated the OPRA by failing to make a public statement about why. for which it had chosen to retain files after the initial request. According to the decision, the city sought to “justify its inadequate responses by claiming that it was relying on past practices.”

“Improper past practices do not justify the continuation of practices that do not comply with the express instructions of the OPRA,” the Court wrote.

“We are pleased with the outcome of the appeal and hope that in the future, more information regarding reported crimes in New Brunswick will be produced in a timely manner, as required by the OPRA,” the statement said. lawyer Walter Luers, who is representing Kratovil in the case. .

Kratovil has made police transparency a major campaign goal, both in New Brunswick and across the state.

Two days after the Court of Appeals decision, a Middlesex County Superior Court judge ruled in favor of Kratovil in a separate OPRA complaint filed against the Borough of Carteret, ordering the Borough to to be more transparent about a December 2021 motor vehicle accident involving Carteret Mayor Daniel J. Réman.

In that July 15 decision, the court ordered the borough to remove redactions of audio and video from body camera recordings and patrol car dashcam footage, and to release the recordings of unredacted 911 calls, dispatch records and radio records.

The decision in Kratovil v. City of New Brunswick is available here: https://charlie4change.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/REGULAR-OPINION-OPN-AFFIRMED-IN-PT-REMANDED-IN-PT-1.pdf

The decision in Kratovil v. Borough of Carteret is available here: https://charlie4change.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/13-July-15-Opinion-and-Order-1.pdf

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