Payne Campaign Criticized For Use Of Police Escort

NEWARK – The leader of the local chapter of the Communication Workers of America expressed shock that a Newark city police escort was used to escort an apparent campaign caravan for Congressional candidate Donald Payne Jr.

A video posted to YouTube by “njtruth12” on May 27 shows Newark police cars and motorcycles escorting a large caravan of vehicles displaying “Payne for Congress” campaign signs.

“I am completely shocked at the use of a police escort for what clearly appears to be a campaign caravan.” stated Lionel Leach, President of CWA Local 1039. “Donald Payne, Jr. is a close, personal friend and it is my sincere hope that he is not involved with this. Taxpayers provide police officers and police equipment for public safety in cities across New Jersey…. Residents rightly count on the police to be there for them, and not for politicians’ use in their campaigns.”

One of Payne’s opponents in next week’s Democratic primary election is calling upon him to provide an explanation.

“I have to assume Don had no idea about this gross abuse of authority and City resources,” said Newark Councilman Ron C. Rice. ” 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,” Rice said.

Update (6/1/12): On Friday, Newark Police Director Samuel DeMaio confirmed that the Payne campaign did go through appropriate channels to apply for a permit, according to an report.

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