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Newark, NJ learns a little something about the First Amendment

The City of Newark, NJ, will be shelling out more than $50,000 for violating a journalist’s First Amendment rights:

Roberto Lima, editor of Newark’s Brazilian Voice newspaper, was awarded $55,000 plus legal fees in response to a civil suit he filed for wrongful arrest in 2008. Lima claimed Samuel DeMaio asked Gerald Carlos, a photographer for the newspaper, if he had a “green card” after Carlos discovered a body in the East Ward in 2007.

Lima also claimed DeMaio ordered officers at the scene to seize Carlos’ camera and later handcuff him at a police precinct to stop him from publishing photos of the body in the newspaper. (source)

The offense is compounded by the fact that DeMaio is the acting police director in Newark. Despite the fact that every cop takes an oath to uphold the law, shockingly few understand that the First Amendment is part of that “law” they swear to uphold.

DeMaio is going to be attending a confirmation hearing next month. With any luck, Newark’s leaders will realize that someone like this should not even be the security guard at Wal-Mart, let alone in charge of a large metro police department.

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