Councilman Patrick Simon Explains Why He Didn’t Sign Statement About Princeton Professor’s Arrest


Democratic Councilman Patrick Simon, the lone member of the governing body to not sign a join statement about the investigation into the arrest of Princeton University Professor Imani Perry, said he did not sign the statement for two reasons.

“The first is that I was worried that the statement was too long, in effect implicitly lending credence to the criticisms leveled against the Princeton Police Department even as we sought to refute them, and as a result, that it might rekindle discussion in the press and social media, fanning the flames of a fire we’ve been trying to put out,” Simon said.

Simon said the second reason he did not sign is that he disagrees with the point in the third paragraph of the statement that characterizes the event as raising legitimate questions about the use of court warrants.

“In my view that paragraph lends legitimacy to a false narrative of this event, and I’m not in any hurry to climb on that bandwagon,” he said. “This was a routine traffic stop, which became a warrant arrest due to the past negligence of the individual involved, and it was subsequently blown out of proportion by that individual and others.”

Simon said there is a valid national debate on the use of court warrants for petty offenses, and acknowledged that there is a disproportionate impact of the practice on people of color, but that the facts of the Perry case are sufficiently skewed that they don’t constructively inform the debate.

“Therefore, I disagree with my colleagues’ decision to use this incident to demand a seat at the table for that discussion at the state level. Nor do I think we are entitled to any special consideration simply because this event happened here,” Simon said.

“I would have preferred a much shorter statement commending the officers for their professionalism, and expressing appreciation for the way Chief Sutter and the entire department responded with sensitivity and dignity to the unjustified attacks in the press and social media,” he said. “That would have been sufficient.”


  1. I knew I could count on Councilman Simon. Thank you, Patrick. I am going to miss your presence on the dais.

  2. Thank you, Patrick. As always, your analytical mind, honesty and responsibility trump over nonsense. What a loss for Princeton government not to have you in council in the next period. Your acumen will be so missed.

  3. Thank you for speaking directly and appropriately. I appreciate your professionalism that I feel is lacking from the long statement that does not bring light to the situation and the inappropriate actions by high ranking officials!

  4. Patrick, we are really going to miss you. You are that rare member of the Council to approach issues objectively and carefully without undue regard for the “politics of things” and to wait until you have actual facts before you opine. I do not believe anyone currently running can replace that so very valuable quality. Thank you.

  5. i agree with councilman simon; it appears the princeton city council is doing its usual knee-jerk response on behalf of princeton university (called by many townspeople, P.U., as smelly relationship). he makes good point; having gone to law school at the U. of Chicago, there is more more merit to his position than the position and posturing by the princeton city council. in a sense, as a citizen of princeton,nj, i feel they too often pander to P.U. prof sam hamod, phd

  6. Racist! Doesn’t he know that he needs to atone for his white privilege and grovel, and that black grievances are always right no matter the actual circumstances? A kiss of death to his political ambitions in the democratic party, if he had any. And he probably never went to PU, and therefore wasn’t indoctrinated in the chief tenet of these elite social justice warriors; all lies matter, but some lies matter more than others.

  7. I was appalled at the request to change warrant behavior, and relieved that at least one council person had the sanity not to endorse that change. It is in the very nature of warrants to cause arrests; there is no other reason to issue them. Thank you, councilman, for a breath of fresh air.

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