As reported by nj.com, citing rampant crime and Mayor Tony Mack’s federal indictment on corruption charges, the State Policemen’s Benevolent Association President became the latest official to demand Mack step down from office.
PBA President Anthony Wieners said Trenton and its layoff-depleted police force need help immediately. “The recent wave of violence in Trenton shows that the Mayor has lost control of the situation and his indictment has made it impossible for him to effectively work with state leaders,” Wieners said in a press release.
Mack was indicted in December on six counts of bribery, wire fraud, mail fraud and extortion following a nearly two-year FBI sting operation. He pleaded not guilty and has a trial date set for next January.
“When an officer is indicted they are immediately suspended, but the Mayor gets to retain his post while under indictment,” Wieners said. “A court will determine his guilt or innocence but the people and officers of Trenton can’t wait for help until then.”
Violence in Trenton has increased markedly from last year. Nearly 150 people have been shot in 2013, 22 of them fatally. This past weekend saw four homicides in less than 36 hours, bringing the total killings so far this year to 27.
In addition, to 140 unfilled positions in the police department due to mass layoffs in 2011 and retirements, Mack’s lack of leadership is fueling the crime problem, Wieners said. “I am today requesting that the county prosecutor take over the Trenton Police Department temporarily to allow for a redirection of resources and to facilitate the hiring of the officers needed to take Trenton back from the criminals who are destroying it,” he said.
A number of elected officials have previously said Mack should resign, including New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, State Senate President Stephen Sweeney, and local legislators.