By the end of August, the city of Camden will begin turning the wheels on its plan to layoff the city’s 270 police officers and to dismantle the entire police department by the end of the year. It is becoming increasingly clear that the city, currently in the midst of a homicide epidemic with 39 reported murders this year, is in serious need of a major law enforcement overhaul. The current system, fraught with abuses including several documented instances of officers planting drugs, is (unsurprisingly) more concerned with its own preservation than upholding any semblance of justice. This is pretty common behavior among police departments, but the Camden P.D. seems to stand head-and-shoulders above the rest: absenteeism is running up to 30% and officers on perpetual paid leave are taking care of their union obligations rather than fighting crime, or whatever it is they do. In a word, police are comfortably ensuring salary hikes and solid pensions rather than doing something about the “mini war-zones” broiling in the city’s worst neighborhoods.

The Camden PD will be replaced by a regional, county-run police force, a move proposed by Mayor Dana Redd, who seems to be one of the few civic leaders around with the gumption to stand up to the macho bullshit exuded by police unions and fear-mongering fraternal orders. This plan seems to be a step in the right direction; it will put 400 officers on the streets of Camden and will streamline bureaucratic organization of law enforcement in all of Camden County. Creating a bloated, monolithic security force, however, is only a superficial solution for a city plagued by many problems, crime rates only being side of the puzzle. Poverty, poor infrastructure, and underperforming schools (Camden is one of 31 Abbott school districts in NJ) all go hand-in-hand with high crime rates; an effective and sustainable solution needs to likewise address the core of the problem.

Well, cops are bastards, and a regional police force would still be run by LEOs who could very well perpetrate the same abuses as the current police department. More oversight provided by such a bureaucratic monolith could make room for whistle-blowers, but could likewise  make necessary future reforms more difficult to carry out; a concentrated power base can entrench corruption and systematize brutal tactics increasingly commonplace among the nation’s precincts. From the NYPD to the Oakland police department, the cops are becoming militarized in response to the possibility of urban protest; fueled by Obama’s stance on medical marijuana, federal powers are superseding state and local laws the nation over. DEA raids of dispensaries in SF are just one side of the systemized curtailing of US citizens’ rights. What would a regional police force mean for New Jersey’s own medical marijuana program, with dispensaries scheduled to open later this year? Where is the current trend of centralized, militarized, police forces leading?

 

GOOSEBUMPS “SCARED TO SEE A DOCTOR” RECORD RELEASE SHOW AT 538 JOHNSON (FULL SETS FROM GOOSEBUMPS, AJAX, MERCENARY, LIBYANS, AND LA MISMA)

Like an episode of Jerry Springer, but with more fireworks.

FIGHT CLUB: THE BEST OF FRIDAY NIGHT THROWDOWN

Following the news of Throwdown’s return at SXSW this year with a Texas vs. NYC event, it seems only appropriate to take a look back at the history of Friday Night Throwdown, and the coverage we’ve had of it here on Superchief over the years. For the uninitiated; Friday Night Throwdown wasn’t just NYC’s best underground boxing event, it was NYC’s best underground party.

TEXAS VS. NYC: THROWDOWN RETURNS AT SXSW THIS YEAR

The organization that brought Ford models, Marines and Bloods together for New York’s best underground party is bringing their business to Austin, and bringing with them a Texas vs. NYC event…and Superchief will be covering the whole thing, from start to finish.

THIS APRIL: SUPERCHIEF GALLERY NYC PRESENTS JOHN FELIX ARNOLD III’S “EXCORRIGIA | THE SCOURGE”

From the world of UNSTOPPABLE TOMORROW, Superchief Gallery NYC returns this spring with John Felix Arnold III’s EXCORRIGIA | THE SCOURGE, an exhibition of new works in painting, drawing, mixed media, installation, and sound. The exhibition will run from April 3 through April 13, and there will be an opening reception on Thursday, April 3 from 6-10pm at CultureFix on 9 Clinton Street.

HIGH ON HUNGER: JANE CHARDIET

“High on Hunger” is Jane Chardiet’s new zine, featuring personal essay, photography and interviews with 12 artists, including some of our favorites, about their 2013 and their artistic goals in the new year, along with photographs of each licking fire. It’s good stuff, so I asked Jane about her 2013, because turnabout’s fair play and that’s how the game works.

12 O’ CLOCK BOYS (BALTIMORE STREETBIKE REALNESS)

Whatever your city is doing, what the homies out in B-More are doing is 10x as crazy. 12 O’ Clock Boys is one of the hardest movies we’ve seen in a long time, hands down, exploring a city and a culture that just doesn’t give a fuck (and featuring Baltimore himies like Schwarz on the soundtrack) the film gets more done in it’s 75 minutes than most documentaries do in twice that.

TAPE BAG #1: I HAVEN’T GOTTEN OFF MY COUCH IN DAYS.

Talking shit on random tapes cuz I wanna. Round one: Mongrel, Skinny Puppy, Madonna, Gowanus Mutant Kommandos, Temple of the Dog and MORE.

R.I.P RICKY LUANDA OF CHAIN GANG

Ricky Luanda of the experimental NYC punk band Chain Gang, one of the coolest bands ever, passed away earlier this week from esophogeal cancer. Watch 10 minutes of the bands’ rare, legendary, batshit crazy 1980′s film “MONDO MANHATTAN” right here.

ALWAYS KEEP THE CAMERA RUNNING: MAKS SUSKI’S VIDEOS OF THE NYC MUSIC SCENE

Maks Suski has been hard at work documenting live music in NYC on video for the last 4 years; we asked him to compile a list of some of his favorite videos that he’s shot, a list that includes Japanther, Action Bronson, Death Grips, Culo, Crystal Castles, Limp Wrist, Black Pus and more.

THERE IS A TINY LEG A QUARTER OF AN INCH BELOW YOUR TENTH RIB.

“Although Tiny Leg’s sound owes much of it’s inspiration to the Oakland glucose and thumbtrack scenes of the mid-nineties, and has been called by HotFridge magazine ‘a thumbcore homage to the sound of Velvet Curtis and Taco’ and ‘a slick-stale, neo-juicy, post-hipster alchemy, somewhere in between gluke-wave and puke-base’ by PeckerwoodsToday, those sentences are too journalistic and not souague enough, if one may permit my french.”

DAWN OF HUMANS, HANK WOOD & THE HAMMERHEADS, AND PHARMAKON PLAYED PS1 SATURDAY NIGHT (FULL SETS)

PUNK NOT ART NOISE NOT MUSIC ACK ACK ACK ACK

TOD SEELIE’S “BRIGHT NIGHTS” BOOK RELEASE & PHOTO SHOW AT SUPERCHIEF GALLERY AT CULTUREFIX (VIDEO)

Tod Seelie’s book release and photo show at Superchief Gallery at CultureFix was a celebration of the last 15 years of New York’s underground, for sure; but it also kept an eye on the future.

FUCKED UP CLOSED OUT 285 KENT’S LAST SHOW (FULL SET)

285 Kent finished it’s run last Sunday night; check out full video of Fucked Up’s headlining set right here.

SUPERCHIEF GALLERY AT MIAMI ART BASEL 2013: WILL SMITH CAN SUCK IT.

Superchief Gallery’s showing at Select Fair 2013 is even bigger, better and more batshit crazy than our 2012 showing was – check out photos here, and for homies in Miami, we’ll be at the Catalina Hotel all this week!

STACY KRANITZ’S SKATOPIA (50+ Photos From a Burnout’s Paradise)

Photographer Stacy Kranitz recently journeyed to Skatopia, a famed 88 acre skate park/commune in Ohio which was founded in 1995, documented in the 2010 film of the same name, and once described by writer Kevin Duffel as “a demented mess that meets halfway between an anarchistic Mad Maxian Thunderdome and a utopian skateboard society.” Goddamn if it isn’t one of the best things we’ve ever seen.