Police Excessive Force Project

November 3, 2018
Posted in Fall 2018
November 3, 2018 Tiffany Baskerville

We can live in a world where the police don’t harm people by Excessive Force

With the rise of smartphone video capability and the ability to share video across multiple social media platforms easily, we have seen an increase in awareness of the excessive force and police brutality methods that persecute people of all races and backgrounds. In 1991, camcorder videotape of Los Angeles police officers beating Rodney King roused (and, to some degree, polarized) the nation. Several decades later, it appears every week brings new images, videos and stories of police officers using extreme and, in some cases, deadly force on suspects in what seems like unnecessary applications of force.

Read more here: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/10/us/phoenix-police-shootings.html

Important Cases of Excessive Force New Jersey


Many major U.S. cities track use-of-force trends as part of systems that flag potentially problematic officers for review. But in New Jersey, that’s not required, which experts state is unusual. For this analysis, I compared police departments total use of force in New Jersey by townships neighboring close to the area of study which was Montclair township and Montclair State University.

As part of Montclair State’s, “Oh No, Five-O week,” The Montclair State Police department presented their first Community Relations Expo this October. Students, including Mechi Brown Senior Theater Studies major and Black Student Union member, spoke with police on issues of Excessive force, Student code of conduct and the Do’s and don’ts in encounters with police. This program designed to restore and renew police and community relations on our campus.

“Community-based events were students can approach police are rare. I’m always on guard with police on campus, but when I attend events that allow information to follow and students to interact with police officers, I become more optimistic of our campus police. Tension among police and our generation of youth are at an all-time high, thus having access to the Montclair State Police department is very important.”
-Mechi Brown, Theater Studies major

“Oh No, Five-O,” Montclair State Police Community Relations Expo

Montclair State Police on Moving Foward following Excessive Force Incident

Montclair, NJ 11/1/18 First annual Community Relations Expo: At Student Center, Ballrooms Montclair State University, Students gather to ask police questions police excessive force.  by Tiffany Baskerville                               
A police incident at Montclair State University this past September on the first day of class for the fall semester ended with two arrests on assault-related charges. As reported by multiple news publications and the universities newspaper, one of the officers drew a gun during the encounter but didn’t discharge the weapon on two African American students.

The arrests which took place near the Redhawk parking garage where the office was captured on camera tackling a student was upload to twitter. The video footage which has been viewed almost 350,000 times and retweeted more than 5,000 times, has many Montclair state students expressing their disappointment in campus policing.

Nevertheless, the university hit back after the video went viral, saying its officers took “every precaution necessary” to make sure people on campus were kept safe. “While the optics in the video may be unclear, the reality is that the officers acted according to New Jersey Attorney General guidelines and the process worked,” said Police department representative.

As more and more stories are coming to light on police and the issue of excessive force become more conversational, many college students’ and residents of Montclair township wonder when this problem will be addressed properly. Throughout this analysis, many cases of police and excessive force have reportedly flooded the news following a string of incidents like the Montclair State Incident.

As reported by AP News and the Washington post, Police brutality and excessive force have been on the rise since 2013. This reporting was chosen because it is a major societal issue targeting more African Americans and people of color. It has been in the news, the 2016 election, and it has had a major impact on our lives, as many of us, as well as our family and friends, have been victims and witnesses of police brutality and excessive force.

In a country devastated by the deaths and injuries of hundreds of people, many of them unarmed, at the hands of police officers, drastic changes are needed in our approach to public safety. Such excessive force by police is particularly disturbing given its disproportionate impact on people of color.

Whilst policing is viewed as a difficult task and some officers can attest to this claim, the act of committing unlawful and violent acts is essential unethical as an officer. Police have a duty to maintain public order, and in doing so they may use force only when strictly necessary. If the use of force is unavoidable, it must be done with restraint. However, such cases as the Montclair State video scandal have drawn up campus discourse and questions on police conduct and procedure. As of December 17, 2018, the Montclair State Police department declined to answer any questions regarding this case examination. They are hoping to move forward from this event by providing more information to the campus community and sponsoring student events to restore faith with the campus students.

Tiffany A. Baskerville


Tiffany A. Baskerville is a New Jersey Rotary Honors recipient award-winning multimedia journalist of West Orange NJ. During her experience at Montclair State University, Tiffany has been actively involved within campus media and student organizations, such as the Montclarion student newspaper, Black Student Union, Montclair State University Dannis B. Eaton Oral speech committee, and the Montclair State University Debate club. She had also reported on student federal aid crisis, and interview Newark Mayor office representatives of Ras Baraka on family shelters in spring 2016, for which she has written an article for The Positive Community Magazine. she plans to use the three main principles that the School of Communication and Media has taught her- seek truth and report It, minimize harm, and be accountable.