Alston says ‘plainclothes cops disrespectful,’ Braker claims ‘stop & frisk’ incident to Shea at Jersey City NAACP

Following a complaint about the behavior of plainclothes officers from NJ Assembly hopeful Bruce Alston, Jersey City NAACP Pres. William Braker detailed a ‘stop & frisk’ incident in front of the branch headquarters on MLK drive to Public Safety Director James Shea.

Bruce Alston - James Shea - William Braker
A regular meeting of the Jersey City NAACP took an awkward turn for Jersey City Public Safety Director James Shea after he was questioned about the behavior of plainclothes officers.

It all started when LD-31 candidate Bruce Alston (D) told Shea that “they operate with a certain amount of arrogance, a certain amount of disrespect towards people.”

“You have these guys that look like they’re young guys. They come out with this macho bravado thing that you would think they were standing on the corner, and they take on a very overly aggressive attitude.”

Following Alston’s comment to Shea, Jersey City NAACP President William Braker added his own story of an encounter with plainclothes JCPD officers in front of the branch’s headquarters on Martin Luther King Drive.

Braker said that as he arrived to the branch office one morning he saw “three young men up against the windows of the NAACP with their hands in the air, and these plainclothes officers are going through their pockets.”

After inquiring who was in charge and why the men were being searched, he said the sergeant told him “we saw them pass something.”

Braker claims that after he questioned the search, the sergeant asked him “what are you some sh*t house lawyer?” Prompting him to respond “no, I’m retired Lieutenant Braker.”

Following his response, Braker claims the sergeant played nice with him and said that he thought the men being searched “might have had a gun.”

According to Braker, the sergeant was not aware that the building was the NAACP headquarters and the sergeant had never heard of the historic civil rights organization.

Braker went on to say that during the search an officer discovered a “white pill” on one of the men, and radioed to say “we got something,” which the young man said was a “Tylenol” for his “toothache.”

After criticizing the officer for thinking that they had “something,” Braker claims he was told “well all these guys… you know this area.”

The men were eventually let go, but Braker was still disgusted by the stereotyping. He added that the point of the story was “a lot of these plainclothes units, they need some community relations work, because what they’re doing is not only illegal, but it’s frustrating and it’s arrogant.”

Shea – who appeared stunned to hear about the behavior of the plainclothes officers – was surprised when Alston said that his encounters happened recently, claiming “we’ve changed a lot of the people there.”

“Chief Zacche asked me to let him switch a lot of the supervisors because he felt, like you, that he needed new supervision there… part of the reason we promoted people was to give him more foot soldiers.”

In conclusion, Alston detailed his own encounter with plainclothes officers, which Shea said he would “pass on to Zacche.”

Following the meeting, Alston told Real Jersey City that “the plainclothes officers I was referring to is the narcotics unit, who take on a highly offensive tone and mantra.”

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