HOBOKEN, N.J. – The police force from Hoboken, New Jersey are heated… and for good reason.
Reports have surfaced that while presenting oral arguments for a land use case, a lawyer representing the New York Waterway referred to the local cops as “Gestapo”, the secret police in Germany during the Nazi regime.
Now the police are fighting back – demanding an apology for the statement.
And the mayor has their back.
Mayor Ravi Bhalla called the statement “sickening”.
“This inflammatory language has no place in a court of law or anywhere else in society, and Mr. Imperatore owes the Hoboken Police Department and our city an apology,” Bhalla said.
Lt. John Petrosino is the President of the Hoboken Police Superior Officers Association.
Mayor Bhalla and Lt. Petrosino issued a joint statement demanding a formal apology.
“It’s abhorrent that New York Waterway’s high-paid attorney would equate the Hoboken Police Department as the ‘Gestapo,’ the statement read.
NJSPBA PRESIDENT COLLIGAN DEMANDS APOLOGY FROM NEW YORK WATERWAY FOR COMPARING POLICE TO “GESTAPO” pic.twitter.com/QIrY7WzTaj
— New Jersey State PBA (@NJSPBA) July 30, 2019
They went on to say that both the department and city leaders were shocked and hurt by the reference.
“Any comparison between the hardworking men and women of the Hoboken Police Department and the Nazi regime is offensive and insulting,” the statement said. “We demand an immediate and unequivocal apology from New York Waterway.”
‘an attorney for New York Waterway reportedly referred to the Hoboken Police Department as the “Gestapo,” during oral arguments at the hearing this morning.’
NYWW may need new lawyers. https://t.co/fKWUufxSC8
— Hoboken Urbanist (@hobokenurbanist) July 29, 2019
And they weren’t the only ones to go to bat for the officers.
President Patrick Colligan of the New Jersey State Policemen’s Benevolent Association fired back at the lawyer’s shameful comments.
“It should go without saying that the statement made by NY Waterway comparing the fine men and women of the Hoboken Police Department to the vile secret state police of Nazi Germany is well beyond any acceptable societal boundaries,” Colligan said.
“We demand an immediate and unequivocal apology from New York Waterway.”
“Frankly, it is hard to fathom how anyone could believe smearing the dedicated community servants of the HPD for simply doing their jobs with a historically despicable reference like this can go unanswered,” he continued.
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“All across our country, members of the law enforcement community continue to find their very well-being endangered and disgusting characterizations like the one made in court by NY Waterway can only help exacerbate the problem. Anything less than a public apology for this inexcusable comment today is completely unacceptable.”
Hoboken Chief Ken Ferrante said that if true, the comments were “unprofessional and unethical.” Plus, he said, if they were actually serious about the comparison, he noted that they drastically needed to do more research into the history behind Nazi Germany.
“There are always negative comments made against police departments and police officers, and one needs to be thick-skinned in this profession, but when an attorney uses the negative police rhetoric in this fashion, it is done with absolute ignorance and disrespect for every man and woman that wears the uniform of the Hoboken Police Department,” Ferrante said.
New York Waterway has apparently declined to comment on the situation, and it’s unclear if the cops will get the formal apology they deserve.