As the election for Newark mayor approaches, candidate Shavar Jeffries told NJTV News Managing Editor Mike Schneider that his supporters have been threatened.
“Unfortunately there’s been a series of events where, frankly, coming out of my opponent’s campaign, there’s been a lot of intimidation,” said Jeffries. “There’s been municipal employees that have been threatened with retaliation.”
Jeffries said that some of his supporters have had their water turned off and some who are business owners have been afraid to put up signs supporting his campaign in fear of being retaliated against.
According to Jeffries, the brother of his opponent, Ras Baraka, who also happens to be Baraka’s campaign manager, has accosted and threatened his supporters.
A campaign bus for Baraka was burned, allegedly by a man connected to Jeffries’ campaign. Jeffries said that he has asked for an investigation into the matter.
“We’ve asked the attorney general for a full investigation of this. I don’t think all the facts have come out,” said Jeffries.
Jeffries said that during the campaign process, many people are hired to put up signs for candidates. The suspect who has been arrested for the bus incident has been linked back to Jeffries’ campaign as a canvasser.
“If this person did what is alleged, he needs to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. He obviously has no role in our campaign, wasn’t at the time that this incident alleged happened,” said Jeffries. “Anybody else alleged to have been involved does no longer work on our campaign but I’ve asked for a full investigation because I believe there’s more facts to be had here and I wouldn’t be surprise there’s other associations this person may have with my opponent’s candidacy or others.”
Jeffries says that the city is not in good shape, but he doesn’t blame current interim Mayor Luis Quintana for that.
Jeffries said that Newark saw about 111 murders in 2013 and that he has the experience to fight the crime within the city as he has run safety plans at the state level. He also said that the city needs to hire more police officers.
As for the possibility of a federal monitor on the Newark Police Department, Jeffries said that under his leadership, the police department would not need the monitor.
“If you have a strong mayor who’s experienced and who can manage the department responsibly, we won’t need the external oversight,” said Jeffries.
Jeffries said that Cory Booker left behind a mixed legacy but that he did a lot of work around economic development.
Recently a poll put out by Baraka’s campaign showed him with a lead over Jeffries, but Jeffries says that he does not believe the results.
“Of course he put out a poll,” Jeffries said. “That poll isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on. It’s sponsored by supporters of my opponent. It’s not an independent poll. So I guess it’s a big surprise that a poll sponsored by his supporters suggested that he was ahead.”