“Newark Police Don’t Do Nothing for Me; They Don’t Protect and Serve”: Policing LGBTQ+ Communities, by Danielle M. Shields and Carse Ramos

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Section IV, Subsection C, “Policing Related to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity,” from “Investigation of the Newark Police Department,” Civil Rights Division, United States Department of Justice, and United States Attorney's Office, District of New Jersey, July 22, 2014.

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Danielle Shields, focus group interview with Loretta, April 28, 2014. Courtesy Danielle Shields. 

In Chapter 10, “‘Newark Police Don’t Do Nothing for Me; They Don’t Protect and Serve’: Policing LGBTQ+ Communities,” Danielle M. Shields and Carse Ramos bring discussions of the relationship between the Newark queer community and the Newark Police Department (NPD) into the present day. They draw on focus group discussions and the 2011 U.S. Department of Justice investigation into the NPD, as well as the “broken windows theory,” originated by a Rutgers-Newark professor, that underlies the policing of marginalized communities.


The Department of Justice report minimizes queerphobia in the NPD’s practices as “anecdotal evidence” and does not hold the department accountable for taking action to change queerphobic culture. Shields and Ramos contextualize this by providing a wealth of evidence that shows a clear pattern.


In one focus group, Loretta, a trans woman, discusses the NPD’s pattern of criminalizing trans women when they have called the police for help, which Shields and Ramos identify as one of many reasons that queer people in Newark have a negative relationship with the police.