Local Beat: Auxiliary Catholic bishop of Newark assaulted during mass in cathedral

Local Beat is the NJ News Commons’ weekly roundup of the best reporting by community news sources.

AUXILIARY CATHOLIC BISHOP OF NEWARK ASSAULTED DURING MASS IN CATHEDRAL
The Rev. Manuel A. Cruz, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Newark, was offering opening prayers at Newark’s Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart when a man approached the altar from the crowd and punched him in the face. Mark Bonamo of TAPinto Newark obtained video of the assault. Many Latinos in Newark came out in support of Rev. Cruz a day after the attack which, according to social media posts by the alleged assailant, appears to have been motivated in part by the treatment of African Americans in the United States. In a defiant first appearance at Essex County Superior Court, Charles Miller, who calls himself “The Fightin’ Preacher,” was charged with aggravated assault.

MORE THAN 1,000 PROTEST TRUMP IMMIGRATION ORDER IN JERSEY CITY
More than 1,000 people – from activists to elected officials to Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop – gathered at the Newark Avenue Pedestrian Plaza in Jersey City to protest President Donald Trump’s recent executive order on immigration. John Heinis of Hudson County View says the rally came together quickly after Trump issued the controversial order on Friday.

CRIME RATE REDUCTION HOLDS STEADY IN RAHWAY
The overall crime rate in Rahway dropped by 1.2 percent last year, while non-violent crime increased by 3.3 percent. Mark Hrywna of Rahway Rising says Rahway was one of 10 towns in Union County that reported fewer incidents of crime, while 9 reported increases.

QUESTIONS ARISE AFTER FORMER OFFICER HIRED ABOVE SALARY CAP FOR CLERK JOB IN PARSIPPANY-TROY HILLS TOWNSHIP 
Retired Police Sergeant Eugene Natoli was hired by Parsippany-Troy Hills Township as a keyboarding clerk at an annual salary of $50,000. Frank Cahill of Parsippany Focus says Mayor James Barberio’s decision to hire Natoli at $2,000 more than the maximum salary allowed by the township’s while collar salary ordinance may be a violation of that law.

BAIL REFORM: JUDGE ORDERS MAN ACCUSED OF DEALING $50K IN HEROIN AND IN POSSESSION OF GUN TO BE RELEASED
A Middlesex County Superior Court judge has ordered the release of Omar Perkins in accordance with New Jersey’s new bail reform measures. TAPinto South Plainfield says Perkins, an accused member of the G-Shine Bloods Gang who was arrested last week with $50,000 of heroin and a 9mm handgun on him, was released despite objections from the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office.

CHICKIE’S & PETE’S, POPULAR PHILLY SPORTS PUB, WILL OCCUPY VACANT CHAMPP’S IN MARLTON
Philadelphia’s famous Chickie’s & Pete’s Crab House and Sports Bar will be bringing its signature CrabFries to a former Champps on Route 73 in Marlton. Steve Lubetkin of State Broadcast News says Marlton mayor and former Baltimore Ravens coach Randy Brown made the announcement inside the defunct Champps restaurant.

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