In March, police in Paterson, New Jersey shot and killed 31-year-old Najee Seabrooks during what police and community groups described as a mental health crisis at his home. Seabrooks had been part of the Paterson Healing Collective, a hospital-based violence intervention program, and several activists questioned why members of the collective weren’t allowed to intervene during the incident.
Seabrooks’ death set off a wave of protests from community members who said the police response unnecessarily escalated the situation. It was also followed shortly by a letter by the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice — which includes former state attorney general John J. Farmer and former U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman on its board — seeking a federal investigation after years of controversies, including high-profile cases of misconduct and corruption. The state Attorney General’s Office has since taken over the department.