Tag Archive: caravan

NJ-10: Commandeering police cars: Is this a good use of taxpayer resources, Candidate Payne?

Ron C. Rice is demanding an accounting for the police escort that accompanied a caravan of vehicles – honking and flashing lights – driving through the streets of Newark for the campaign of his opponent Donald Payne, Jr.

There’s something about this spectacle, and the commandeering for personal/political use of public safety vehicles better used for lifesaving, that smacks of the kind of behavior we’ve come to expect of Chris Christie commandeering the Homeland Security chopper to meet up with GOP bigwigs. Charlie Stile tweeted about this today:

D.Payne Jr.’s police-escort caravan in Newark: a slowed-down version of the luxury car roll-down to AC? Worse?

With Newark – the 10th Congressional District’s core – struggling financially, where cops are needed for emergencies, Payne should be embarrassed getting caught spending on himself this way. So maybe worse than the sports car escort that got so much attention a few weeks ago. Or at least equal, considering the man whose campaign benefitted wants to help handle the federal purse strings.

Payne, Jr. and Rice both serve on Newark’s City Council. I suspect Rice commands the power to commandeer police cars and motorcycles to make his campaign caravan look important. But I can’t imagine Rice ever exercising that power. Rice, who is usually referred to as hardworking and effective, as he is in Star-Ledger’s endorsement of him for Congress (over Payne and Nia Gill) is no show pony. Rice wants an accounting of what sure looks to me as a misuse of the city’s funds:

“I have to assume Don had no idea about this gross abuse of authority and City resources.  However, I’m sure someone from his campaign and the police department must know how this happened, and the people of Newark need to understand why instead of patrolling our streets the police were escorting a campaign caravan.

I sincerely hope the Payne campaign can offer an explanation for what appears to be a misuse of city funds and resources for campaign purposes, and this does not rise to the level of a formal inquiry by the prosecutor, police chief and internal affairs.”

Haven’t seen it? Here’s the video of Payne’s caravan, shot out the window of another car and uploaded to YouTube: