NEWARK, NJ - MAY 13: People walk by a police car in downtown on May 13, 2014 in Newark, New Jersey. Voters in New Jersey's largest city go to the polls on May 13, to choose a new mayor following Democrat Cory Booker's departure to the U.S. Senate. Newark, which is approximately 12 miles from New York City, is struggling with a rise in violent crime and unemployment. Shavar Jeffries, 39, and Ras Baraka, 44, are the two democrats running for the job in the heavily Democratic city. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEWARK, NJ - FEBRUARY 22: A weapon recently returned in a Newark Police Department gun buy-back event is held on February 22, 2014 in Newark, New Jersey. As of Saturday, the two day gun buy-back resulted in dozens of rifles, pistols and other weapons being surrendered to the police department for a cash reward. The program is partnered with 'Jewelry for a Cause', a company that turns destroyed weapons into jewelry whose profits are used to fund future gun buy-back and amnesty programs in Newark and across the nation. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
A woman writes on a makeshift memorial where a day earlier a 14-year-old boy was killed, Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013, in Newark, N.J. Ali Rajohn Eric Henderson became the 10th person killed in New Jersey's largest city in ten days. He was gunned down in the courtyard of Newark's Riverview Terrace housing complex late Wednesday. Ten people have been killed in the city since Aug. 26. Police Director Samuel DeMaio said none of the killings were linked, but the shootings weren't random. The spike in crime comes as Mayor Cory Booker has six weeks left in his campaign for a U.S. Senate seat. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
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NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - Newark's police department will undergo independent monitoring after a three-year federal investigation released Tuesday found "a pattern of unconstitutional policing" that included excessive use of force and inadequate accountability.
The probe started in the months after the American Civil Liberties Union New Jersey filed a complaint claiming rampant misconduct in the department. It found problems with stop-and-arrest policies, police handling of complaints from residents and officers' use of excessive force, which it said was unreasonable in more than 20 percent of cases.
The report also found the department violated the First Amendment rights of residents who lawfully objected to police actions, and it found a pattern of officers in the narcotics, gang and prisoner processing units stealing residents' property.
The city of Newark cooperated with the investigation and has agreed to court-enforced monitoring. Other cities that have done so in recent years include Detroit, Los Angeles, New Orleans and Seattle.
"The people of Newark deserve to be safe, and so do the thousands who come here to work, to learn, and to take advantage of all the city has to offer," U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said. "They also need to know the police protecting them are doing that important - and often dangerous - work while respecting their constitutional rights. The Justice Department has a long history of making sure of that, and today we have the commitment of Newark's mayor and the leadership of the police department to make the department the one that the city deserves."