New Jersey US attorney creates civil rights division

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey announced Monday the creation of a special division to enforce federal civil rights laws statewide.

The office had done the work before, according to a statement from U.S. Attorney Philip Sellinger. But the new division, which will bring together members of the existing civil rights unit and federal prosecutors from the bureau’s criminal division, will be able to better coordinate how to protect and advance civil rights, he said. he declares.

“No one should ever be discriminated against or hated because of where they are, how they look, who they love or how they worship,” Sellinger said in a video statement. attached. “Protecting civil rights was the reason for the creation of the Department of Justice, and it remains an urgent part of our mission today – especially here in New Jersey, where our diversity is one of our greatest strengths.”

Sellinger also said he’s doubled the number of civil and criminal attorneys who will work on cases — now six assistant U.S. attorneys will take on the charge instead of three.

The division will be headed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael E. Campion, who has worked in the office for nearly 15 years, according to his LinkedIn profile.

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A graduate of Fordham University School of Law, Campion, 50, worked as the bureau’s civil rights coordinator and, most recently, head of its civil rights unit.

He oversaw the investigation into prisoner abuse at Edna Mahan Women’s Correctional Facility and the case of Joseph Centanni, Elizabeth’s landlord who allegedly demanded sexual favors from tenants in exchange for accommodation, according to the US Attorney’s office.

Campion will report directly to Sellinger, according to the statement.

Among other things, the division will speak with members of the local community, advocacy groups and other state and federal agencies.

Sellinger said the new unit will continue the bureau’s past efforts to pursue criminal and civil actions against those who violate the civil rights of others, including cases involving discrimination, fair housing, fair lending, prisoners’ rights, police misconduct and the right to vote.

Private citizens can report possible civil rights violations through the US Attorney’s Office website or call the US Attorney’s Civil Rights Hotline at 855-281-3339.

Steve Janoski covers law enforcement for NorthJersey.com. For unlimited access to the most important news about those protecting your local community, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.

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