Gov. Corzine said today he will ask for federal oversight of the state police to end after eight years of reforms addressing allegations that troopers targeted drivers based solely on race.
The state police has been under a federal monitor since 1999, the year after two white troopers wounded three unarmed minority men during a traffic stop on the New Jersey Turnpike.
That incident sparked nationwide debate on racial profiling. New Jersey Attorney General Peter Verniero eventually concluded racial profiling was "real, not imagined."
To avoid a federal civil rights lawsuit, the state police entered into a consent decree that called for 124 reform-minded tasks to be completed.
Federal monitors, who release reports on the state police every six months, have praised the state police recently, finding no instances of racial profiling and saying the agency was in compliance with all the reforms.
Last year, the monitors called the state police a model of law enforcement, and the U.S. Department of Justice asked the state to join a request to a federal judge to dissolve the consent decree.
Corzine then created a panel of civil-rights and police experts to examine the issue. That panel released its report this morning, saying the state should join the motion to free the state police from federal oversight.