I attended the most recent Rahway city council meeting on June 10 and could not help but notice Bobby Akbar conspicuously absent from after pleading guilty in court earlier that same day. I was also present at this court case.
According to police and lawyers, Akbar was arrested for assault in connection with a February domestic violence incident, which took place in the parking lot of the elementary school where he is employed as a fifth grade teacher in Rahway.
The prosecutor confirmed that Akbar “created a very dangerous condition,” when exiting the lot, and as a result of the guilty plea Councilman Akbar was ordered to pay a $500 fine plus court costs.
The prosecutor also is quoted in the Star Ledger as saying that “there was inappropriate behavior on the part of the defendant,” but that he could not comment further because of laws protecting domestic violence victims.
After the hearing Akbar, a Democrat representing the 1st Ward of Rahway, said that he doesn’t think his relations with the City Council or at Franklin Elementary will be damaged by the case.
It is unclear what his relationship should be/will be with the BOE and the status of his employment, however there are many in Rahway who believe that he should immediately resign his position on the city council.
When installed into public office individuals swear an oath to abide by and enforce the laws of the nation, state, county and their municipality, with their right hand raised and the left on the Bible. By pleading guilty, Mr. Akbar has told the community that it doesn’t matter what he swore to do and that he doesn’t believe that the laws and ordinances of the City of Rahway apply to him.
Further, it is puzzling that a domestic violence assault charge could possibly be downgraded to a lesser charge of a traffic crime like disturbing the peace yet the details cannot be revealed because of laws protecting victims of DV. If this is indeed a domestic violence incident, Mr. Akbar should have been held to the same set of rules as anyone else.
Using their own standard of behavior, by which they have repeatedly attempted to measure the performance of Republican council persons, the Rahway Democrats should themselves be insisting that Mr. Akbar vacate his council seat. In this case it was shown and the councilman admitted in a court of law that he was guilty of an illegal act and yet the Rahway Democrats persist to sweep this ugly incident under the rug as though nothing happened.
I cannot help but believe if this were a Republican they would be doing everything in their power to discredit him and embarrass him into stepping down. But because it is one of their own they, the Democratic Committee, have circled the wagons and have downplayed the seriousness of what has occurred.
Pure and simple based on his own admission of guilt the man should resign obviously since he passed up the council meeting he was attempting to avoid publicly addressing the issue. The people of the city deserve the best representation possible and obviously this is not currently the case.