With Newark police under a federal consent decree to clean up police conduct, community leaders and the independent federal monitor whose investigations uncovered civil rights violations are holding what they call a “Critical Conversation About Race and Policing” at the NJPAC. NJTV News Correspondent Michael Hill was there.

Hill: Mary Alice, we’re expecting some 700 to 800 people for this conversation about race and policing here in Newark. Now on the panel tonight, the independent federal monitor for Newark, Peter Harvey, the former attorney general of New Jersey. Also on the panel, the police superintendent, the mayor, members of theNewark Anti-Violence Coalition, the dean of the Criminal Justice School of Law over at Rutgers University. Now also on the panel from the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice — that’s the organization putting this on — is the general counsel and she joins us now, Ms. LaShawn Warren. Ms. Warren, thank you very much for joining us. What do you hope comes out of tonight?

Warren: Well we hope that this will be an opportunity for the community to really engage in efforts to reform the police department of Newark. Here we have an opportunity for the residents to also find out about what’s going on with the consent decree that Peter Harvey will be talking about.

Hill: This consent decree as you see it, from your organization, is almost the Bible at this point in terms of going forward with the Newark Police Department.

Warren: Yes it is. Actually, a key component of the consent decree that was entered into with the city of Newark actually provides for citizen input. So there will be a number of community surveys. And those community surveys will help inform the reform that we hope to see in the coming years.

Hill: Ryan Haygood who’s the executive director, the CEO of the organization and the president of the organization is on Peter Harvey’s team as a federal monitor. Going forward, you see this as an open book opportunity to do something with this department, to get it right now?