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June 2007
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Newark’s Mayor Cory Booker is fed up with the Drug War

Wow. Booker redirects his anger at the war on drugs
This is big.

He is an angrier man now. And the focus of that anger is a public policy that he believes is ruining his city and threatening his hopes to change it.
The problem, he says, is New Jersey’s tough tactics in the drug war. We are heavy on jail time and unforgiving even when prisoners finish their terms. At a time when even states like Texas are changing course, we are sticking with our failed strategy.
The result is to turn thousands of young men into economic cripples and to give the crime wave in Newark a flood of fresh recruits. Booker describes it as almost an economic genocide against African-American men in his city.
And if it doesn’t change, he says, he’s ready to go to jail in protest, in the tradition of the civil rights movement.
“I’m going to battle on this,” the mayor says. “We’re going to start doing it the gentlemanly way. And then we’re going to do the civil disobedience way. Because this is absurd.
“I’m talking about marches. I’m talking about sit-ins at the state capitol. I’m talking about whatever it takes.”

The mayor calling for civil disobedience AGAINST the drug war?

He wants to reserve prison cells for those who do violence and divert the nonviolent drug offenders into treatment programs and halfway houses.

This guy really is angry.

“The drug war is causing crime,” Booker says. “It is just chewing up young black men. And it’s killing Newark.” […]
He knows it’ll be tough. But when he talks about it, the political smile disappears and he wears the expression of a man preparing to smash his head into a brick wall if that’s what it takes.
Lucky thing. Because that wall is sturdy. And it’s way past time that someone knocked it down.

You don’t hear a political official talk like this very often.

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