ACLU calls for oversight of Newark police

September 9, 2010 2:56:22 PM PDT
The New Jersey chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union says police misconduct is rampant in the state's largest city.

The chapter filed a petition Thursday asking the U.S. Department of Justice for an independent monitor for Newark's 1,300 police officers.

The group says the city has paid out over $4 million in a 2 1/2 year period to settle lawsuits brought against the police department by citizens or department employees.

The ACLU says the department has a pattern of false arrests and excessive force against citizens and lacks oversight and internal controls.

Police and city officials have criticized the petition as exaggerating the problem. They say oversight is unnecessary.