New Law Calls For Armed Guards at Newark Eateries

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You could think of it as fried chicken with a side of security. In accordance with legislation enacted one week ago by the Newark City Council, restaurants which serve less than 20 people are now required to either hire armed guards to patrol their establishments after 9 pm (for which they must foot the bill), or close by 10pm, Reuters reports.

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The ordinance was passed in response to the murder of Newark Police officer, William Johnson, who, as the Gothamist reports, was gunned down and killed as he was waiting late one evening to buy a slice of pizza from Texas Fried Chicken and Pizza.

The ordinance was passed by unanimous vote from the city council, however has not been so wholeheartedly embraced by Newark residents, as some argue the negative impact this legislation could have on small businesses.  Jamil Nahiam (owner of Texas Fried Chicken and Pizza) told Reuters , “The ordinance is going to put us out of business.”  Nahiam also spoke of the unfair burden hiring guards will place on small business owners such as himself to assume responsibilities of the Newark police.  A police department which, according to NPR laid off about 160 of their officers due to budget constraints last winter.

Bill author, Councilman Ras Baraka offered, in an interview to Reuters, “Most of these stores provide security for themselves but not for the customers they bring in.”

In efforts to reduce violent crime at establishments, specifically businesses open late at night that council members feel are breeding grounds for crime, they’ve moved to mandate that firearms be present in each and every one of them.  Whether the ordinance will succeed in reducing crime is a question Newark residents are anxious to learn.

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