Mayor Ras J. Baraka and Public Safety Director Anthony F. Ambrose have announced changes in public safety policy and the creation of an LGBTQ help hotline after concerns were raised about the police handling of Ashley Moore, a transgender woman who died April 1 in downtown Newark.
Mayor Baraka acknowledged police did not notify Ms. Moore’s family of her death in a timely manner and there were “gaps in communication” in relaying details of her death to the family.
“I met with friends and supporters of Ms. Moore to offer condolences and apologies for the inexcusable amount of time it took for police to notify her mother of her death,” Mayor Baraka said. “It was clear to me that once the family was located, there were gaps in communication between the police and Ms. Moore’s survivors, which left the family with many questions about the circumstances of her death. We must do better in timely notifications when ‘next of kin’ are not readily known and give survivors composite detail regarding the death of their loved one.”
As a result, the Mayor and Director Ambrose have announced the following changes:
• Establishing a help hotline (973-733-8809) for the LGBTQ community if someone needs additional assistance after contacting the police. This number will be operated through the Shani Baraka Women’s Resource Center.
• Adding an “Ashley Moore Amendment” to existing LGBTQ policy, which will require Newark Police to call local LGBTQ organizations and advocates for assistance when there are informational gaps, such as identifying next of kin.
• Adding LGBTQ to the gender identity boxes on police reports.
While the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office continues to investigate the circumstances around Ms. Moore’s death, Mayor Baraka said he was satisfied with the emergency response of the Newark Police.
“In our investigation of Newark Police Division actions, we found police responded in a timely manner, and administered CPR and Narcan in attempts to save Ms. Moore’s life,” Mayor Baraka said. “The officers’ body cameras showed they spared no lifesaving measures until the moment the ambulance arrived and EMTs took over the treatment. We also believe our officers acted with sensitivity in identifying Ms. Moore as a woman, in accordance with our new LGBTQ policy.”
The Mayor called Ashley Moore’s death “a reminder that our commitment to the health, safety and dignity of all residents despite race, gender, ethnic origin or sexual preference is ongoing work. We must be diligent in enforcing those values and continue to fill the inadvertent gaps in these practices when brought to our attention.
“Once again, we offer our condolences and apologies to Ms. Moore’s family and friends, but also thank them for helping us better understand community concerns and improve upon them,” the Mayor said.
- NEWARK -