OUTRAGE: Newark Residents Hit With $187,000 Police OT Bill For Whitney Houston Funeral
Locals Say Considering How They Were Treated, The Cost Is Hardly Justified
NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Whitney Houston’s funeral is costing the city of Newark tens of thousands of dollars in police overtime.
And some taxpayers say as much as they loved the pop star they’re not happy about footing the high security costs, reports CBS 2’s Christine Sloan.
Houston’s family brought her back to Newark, where thousands of people lined the streets to get a glimpse of the hearse carrying her body. Fans even tried to get close to the church where her private funeral was held.
It was a farewell to a beloved star that touched the hearts of many, but it also cost the city of Newark more than $187,000 in police overtime, representing 5 percent of the $4 million budget for the year.
“I think it’s absolutely ridiculous when you have people who are unemployed and homeless, people walking up and down the streets,” Newark resident Quincy Ruffin said.
Ruffin said Houston’s family should have paid for the officers.
“If they wanted it to go that far, do that much, they should have been the ones providing for it,” Ruffin said.
Others said what makes them more angry is the public wasn’t allowed anywhere near the funeral that attracted big stars.
“I think it was a waste of time and then now we find out what happened and how she actually died, it makes you think twice saying was it worth it or not,” resident Minerva DelValle said.
Nearly 200 police officers were stationed at the New Baptist Church, the funeral home and a family gathering at the Newark Club afterwards. One city official said that the overtime cost was necessary because of public safety.
“I was able to be witness to the thousands upon thousands of people who were desperate to attend service but held back by barriers and officers of the law,” said Democratic Councilwoman Mildred Crump. “If they had not been there someone may have been trampled, seriously hurt.”
In Westfield, where Houston was laid to rest, $9,000 in police overtime was spent, a necessary cost to make sure no one got hurt, officials said.
The Newark Police Department released the overtime figures to CBS 2. Mayor Cory Booker and the police director were unavailable for comment on Friday.
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