Rezoning Racial Boundaries

Copy of yoon002.jpg

Two men were questioned and checked for warrants by police for loitering outside of a building known to be a drug hangout. As part of the War on Drugs, police staked out public housing complexes as way to get a large volume of arrests and stop drug rings

"How can the police police the police? If they can shoot down our kids, who are mostly black and Latino, and walk away without anything happening to them, then what's being done?" – Amiri Baraka


Police used barriers to target and isolate areas of Newark with drug connections. Aside from monitoring the premises 24 hours a day and rousing residents at night to check the building for drugs, officers restricted the movement of residents and required them to show ID before being let into their neighborhoods

Drug Zone Map.jpg

Compared to a predominantly white suburb, 75% of Newark is designated as a drug free school zone, which carries with it extra criminal charges.

The deaths of Bilal Colbert and DeFarra Gaymon--two African American men killed by police for being in the wrong place at the wrong time--led to new calls for police reform.

 On April 30, 2011, 29-year old Colbert was killed by an Irvington detective while buying snacks for his girlfriend’s two daughters. This incident occurred on the corner of 22nd Street and 18th Avenue, in a “drug-infested” neighborhood targeted by police.




The Essex County Sheriff's office, in response to complaints from locals, established a “sting” task force to arrest men engaged in sexual activities within Newark’s Branch Brook Park. In July of 2010, 48-year old DeFarra Gaymon was shot and killed by a plainclothes detective while walking through the park. As a man alone in the park, Gaymon was immediately suspected of engaging in illegal activities.

Community groups, such as Fathers Against Drugs and the People’s Organization for Progress, formed in response to individual incidents involving police and citizens of Newark, while other statewide organizations joined the fight.