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DV Pilot Police & Fire

State AG Calls For Elizabeth Police Director To Step Down, Appoints New County Prosecutor

New Jersey's Attorney General Friday called for Elizabeth's Public Safety Director to step down.
New Jersey's Attorney General Friday called for Elizabeth's Public Safety Director to step down. Photo Credit: EPD

New Jersey's Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced Friday that he's appointed a new acting prosecutor in Union County following widespread allegations that the public safety director in Elizabeth habitually used racist and sexist language. 

Police Director James Cosgrove has  been under investigation since February following several complaints of inappropriate behavior towards black and female staff under his command, as well as allegations that he routinely threatened retribution against those who brought complaints against him. 

In an interview with Daily Voice earlier this month, attorney Joshua McMahon, who is representing a number of Elizabeth police officers, said Cosgrove referred to officers under his command with the n-word, as well as with a vulgar obscenity used to refer to women. 

Grewal on Friday called for Cosgrove, a former Newark police officer, to step down from the post he has held for more than 20 years as the leader of one of the state's largest municipal police departments. 

"One of the core responsibilities of an effective law enforcement leader is to maintain the trust of the community he or she serves," the attorney general said. "Director Cosgrove has violated that trust and, in doing so, undermined confidence in our system of justice. 

"I believe that Director Cosgrove should resign his position immediately." 

The investigation into Cosgrove was finished this month. The prosecutor's office took over the Elizabeth Police Department's Internal Affairs unit earlier this week. 

Grewal named First Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Davenport as acting prosecutor in Union County to "ensure that UCPO exercises appropriate oversight of the Elizabeth Police Department and works to rebuild trust with the community and external stakeholders." 

In addition, Joseph Walsh, special assistant to the Attorney General,  will serve as counsel to Davenport, Grewal said. Walsh, a former Burlington County police officer, will oversee internal affairs at the EPD. 

Spokespeople for the city of Elizabeth and the prosecutor's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday. 

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