New Jersey is, little by little, coming to its senses. Public officials are being forced to the realization that they are not above the law, contrary to what they may prefer to think.
Newark Councilwoman Dana Rone has been officially relieved of her duties by the Essex County Superior Court. The facts of the case are quite simple. There is a state law that requires city officials to forfeit their positions if they are found guilty of a crime in which they abused the powers of their office.
In December of 2006, Rone showed up driving a city-issued vehicle to the scene where her nephew had been pulled over for a moving violation. Rone arrived and parked in between the police car and her nephew’s car, blocking traffic. She ignored the requests of the Rutgers-Newark officers to move her car and called Newark Police officers. According to videotape and witness statements, Rone was verbally combative with the officers, repeatedly stating that she was a councilwoman, that she had connections with the provost of Rutgers, and that if they called the Chief of Police, he would come down to help her.
According the officers who initially pulled over her nephew, Jameel Grant, he and his passenger were laughing as officers approached the car. Grant refused to hang up his cell phone when asked and stated that he was calling his aunt, a councilwoman, and she was on her way. So not only do city officials think they are above the law, but so do their relatives.
One of her lawyer’s arguments against taking away her seat was that Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healey was not forced to leave his office after being convicted of obstruction of justice for a violent incident at a Bradley Beach bar in 2007. Because another public official did something illegal and got away with it means you should be able to do it too??? That’s some logic for ya. I’m sure Newark citizens are real happy that they entrusted her with the future of their city.
They just don’t get it. Grow up and play by the rules. That’s the way life works. Deal with it.