Jul 29, 2014
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Mayor Booker Vetoes 'Chicken Shack' Ordinance

Booker calls on city council to work with law enforcement to draft new, "narrowly tailored" ordinance

Mayor Booker Vetoes 'Chicken Shack' Ordinance

Newark Mayor Cory Booker vetoed an during late-night hours of operation, calling for the city council to come up with a "more cost-effective" plan in partnership with law enforcement officials.

"I believe that if the council can work together with our police to come up with pro-active legislation like they want, then it's a win-win-win: a win for our community, a win for our business community, a win for our public safety, most importantly," said Booker, who announced his veto at a press conference Tuesday afternoon.

The , backed by South Ward Councilman Ras Baraka in an effort to reduce violence in high-crime areas, would require restaurants that seat less than 15 places to hire an armed security guard from 9 p.m. until closing time. If the restaurant cannot afford to hire a guard, they would be forced to shut down for the evening.

The bill has colloquially been dubbed the "chicken shack ordinance" because it targeted take-out restaurants, like Texas Fried Chicken and Pizza, where off-duty Newark police officer William C. Johnson Jr. was

Booker said he vetoed the ordinance, passed unanimously by city council members July 7, because the council never sought input from law enforcement officials. Less than 2 percent of crime happens in or around small restaurants, like takeout establishments or "chicken shacks," according to a study conducted by Acting Newark Police Director Samuel DeMaio.

"Our city council is very dedicated to crime-fighting and I think this reflects that spirit … but we're hoping that they will go back and sit down with our law enforcement professionals …" said Booker, who hopes a "narrowly tailored piece of legislation that will stand up to legal challenge" can then be drafted.

Baraka could not immediately be reached for comment.

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