NEWARK — Mayor Ras Baraka downplayed the use of city police time and resources to escort a celebrity DJ to his birthday party, which also doubled as a campaign event.
“We use police to escort everybody around the city when they come to city events, whether you’re talking about actors, the President, state folks authors,” Baraka said. “Yes, that happens all the time.”
On April 9, an unmarked Newark Police Department squad car used lights and sirens to run red lights in New York City to bring Hot 97 DJ Funkmaster Flex to the event. He was providing the music for the evening. Flex shot a shot video posting it on his Instagram account where he can be heard saying: “Mayor sure knows how to treat you baby!”
When PIX11 pressed Baraka about if the use of lights and sirens was truly appropriate the mayor added: “The lights and sirens are under investigation. I cannot talk about why the lights and sirens were used. But whatever the $200 it cost was reimbursed to the city [by my campaign] and that was happening anyway.”
Baraka is seeking re-election next month.
Newark’s Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose confirmed specific use of lights and sirens is against protocol.
“It’s under investigation for the lights and sirens, and that is where we are at, internal affairs is investigating,” Ambrose said.
PIX11 will follow up on the results of the investigation.