CAMDENWith renewed violence on the streets and without a police chief to lead them, Camden officers are finding themselves facing another problem—race.
In recent weeks, a group calling itself the Concerned American Police Officers has emerged. It’s not a “whites only” group, says the group’s president, Sgt. Jeffrey Frett. But all 73 members, he said, are white.
The group formed, Frett said, after the city “unfairly” bypassed white officers for promotions this year.
Some concern arose among black officials when 16 of the 21 people recruited to become officers in April were white. More than 90 percent of the city’s residents are nonwhites.
Lt. Joseph Galiazzi supervised the recruitment of the officers. In a union grievance filed on May 30, he said city business administrator Christine T.J. Tucker said “the specific concern of City Council members was the number of ‘white recruits.’ ” Galiazzi is not a member of the Concerned American Police Officers group.
At a recent City Council meeting, Tucker said she had been pressured by council members about police recruits but refused to name them or elaborate.
Frett said two black councilmen, Ali Sloan El and Gilbert “Whip” Wilson, complained about the white recruits. Both council members denied that.