Welcome to Camden, President Obama. Here are some things I think you need to know.


James Harris is the Immediate Past President of New Jersey NAACP (2005-2013). He opposed the abolition of the Camden Police Department as President of the NAACP New Jersey State Conference on grounds it was a racially motivated effort to destroy the Police Union and replace African American and Latino police officers with Whites. He also contended various practices were anti urban, anti- African American/Latino and anti-poor. Further, it was believed the Chief of Police had contributed to poor policing practices in Camden. Harris also chairs the Education Task Force of the New Jersey Black Issues Convention. – Promoted by Rosi

Barack ObamaWelcome to Camden, New Jersey Mr. President. I am happy to see you visit Camden New Jersey, one of the poorest and most dangerous cities in the United States of America.

Mr. President, I sincerely hope that you will talk to some residents other than the elected officials who are completely controlled by the political bosses who have created the conditions that allowed Camden to become and remain poor and dangerous for so long.

I hope you do not endorse the process that has led up to the propaganda of dramatic improvements in Camden public safety. You should not endorse the fact that Mayor Dana Redd fired more than 267 Camden police officers, who represented the most racially and ethnically diverse police department in New Jersey (over 75% African American and Latino). I hope you do not endorse the fact the “new” Camden Metro Police Department was created by the political bosses in Camden County to destroy the Police Union that was led by African Americans and who were operating under a Union contract that had been negotiated and signed while Camden was under state supervision.

Mr. President, I hope you will understand that the firing of this racially diverse police department was implemented with a agreement by the all-White New Jersey Civil Service Commission, which voted to eliminate the rules that allowed public employees to legally challenge unfair and unjust treatment.

I hope you will not encourage the continuation of policies and procedures that are racially discriminatory and violate all the most important values supported by the NAACP and other civil and human rights organizations including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

Mr. President, I hope you will realize you’ve received propaganda that has been created to hide the fact that the Chief of Police in Camden is the same Chief of Police who headed the Camden Police department during the period of the highest crime rate in the nation. I hope you inquire as to how a Chief that was ineffective when he directed a majority minority Police Department can be so much more effective after the African American/Latino Police Officers have been replaced by a force that is overwhelming white and non-resident in the city of Camden.

Mr President, I hope you won’t endorse a system of leadership that indirectly suppress the votes of Camden residents by building and encouraging hopelessness here by consistently using federal funds in ways that seem not to result in improvement of the conditions those funds were intended to resolve.

Mr. President, please do not encourage and endorse the programs and procedures in Camden that are designed to create false images of radical improvement that can not be confirmed by an investigation of the use of federal funds in Camden.

Mr. President, please ask the U.S. Attorney General and other federal agencies to conduct forensic audits to determine exactly how federal funds were actually spent here and in whose bank accounts funds were ultimately deposited.

I hope your visit to Camden will expose the propaganda used to invite you here. I also hope the visit will inspire everyone in Camden to realize that residents who reside in poor and dangerous cities are entitled to the fruits of trust justice and equality.

Camden deserves a visit by the President and I hope it will prove a positive experience for everyone – as long as the President embraces his responsibility to separate facts from fiction as relates Camden government and the Board of Education.

Mr. President, there are stories you need to hear about what really goes on in Camden. And there are failures of accountability and transparency we believe the federal government should be investigating. I invite you or members of your staff to contact me JHarrisNAACP@yahoo.com.  

Comments (3)

  1. Rosi Efthim

    Amazing that as President Obama visits Camden – Chris Christie has vamoosed to NH. And Camden High School students have walked out and massed at City Hall to protest what privatization is doing to their schools.

    And the much-touted Camden County Police just got some AWFUL press right before the big visit: at the Philly Enquirer about how the 2-year-old department can’t hold onto its officers. Nearly 120 officers – including much of its ballyhooed recruiting classes – have resigned or retired. The highest turnover of any police force in the state.

    This is success?  

  2. Rosi Efthim

    PBA President to President Obama on Camden Police: You are being misled.

    Pres. Obama’s speech so far reads like a press release from the House of Norcross. He just said the new force is ‘still unionized.’ Mehhh… somebody’s not telling you the details, POTUS.

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