Petition to remove Jersey City council member nears 5,000 signatures after hit and run

Petition to remove Jersey City council member nears 5,000 signatures after hit and run

More than 4,000 signatures have been amassed in a petition demanding that a Jersey City council member resign after she came under fire in a hit-and-run crash last month — and the resident who started the petition said it’s showing no signs of slowing down.

Councilwoman Amy DeGise allegedly hit cyclist Andrew Black at the intersection of Martin Luther King Drive and Forrest Street in Jersey City on the morning of July 19th. In video footage obtained by the Jersey Journal, DeGise’s car was recorded crashing into the cyclist without slowing down. Black, who ran a red light, flipped onto her hood and rolled onto the road, landing a few feet away from his mangled bicycle.

DeGise waited six hours to report her hit-and-run crash to the police, according to the Jersey Journal.

Megan Carolan, an early education policy researcher, started the petition on the day the hit-and-run occurred, demanding DeGise step down and asking Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop and other city councilmembers to join in publicly calling for DeGise’s resignation.

Carolan said there is no good answer that could justify DeGise’s behavior.

“If she spent those six hours from hitting the cyclist to turning herself into working at a soup kitchen and taking care of children, it still wouldn’t be OK because that was a human life and it’s the law to stop,” Carolan said. “As somebody who makes the laws in Jersey City and helps to decide what’s right for our city, the fact that she couldn’t hold herself to even that bare standard is shocking.”

Carolan, 35, said the number of signatures hasn’t been slowing down and even includes people from outside of Jersey City and outside the country.

“People are not letting this go. This is not just a flash in the pan,” she said. Carolan has lived in Jersey City for nine years with her husband and two small children.

DeGise did not respond to a request for comment. Her spokesperson told Hudson County View last week that she will not resign and plans to complete her full term in office. She was elected to office last November and her term runs through December 2025. She previously served on the Jersey City School Board.

But DeGise comes from an influential family in the world of Hudson County politics—one of the state’s most populous counties and a Democratic stronghold for generations. She was the former head of the county Democratic Party and her father, Tom DeGise, is the county executive.

On Monday, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy called DeGise’s hit-and-run “unacceptable” in an unrelated news conference, but he stopped short of calling for her resignation, saying that he “would leave the politics to the local realities.” Councilmembers James Solomon and Frank Gilmore also called for DeGise to resign after the hit-and-run footage was made public. Unlike much of the rest of the Council, they did not run on the same slate with Fulop and DeGise in last year’s municipal election.

Police body camera footage of DeGise from last November, published by Hudson County View, shows her pleading with a Hoboken police officer to not tow her illegally parked vehicle, which had not been registered since 2019. She told the police officer that she had a relative who is an officer and offered him a union card. She also said that she was a city council member endorsed by the local police union (though she had not yet taken office) and said she called Hoboken city attorney John Allen to help her.

“It’s kind of showing this pattern of somebody who thinks that the rules don’t apply to them,” Carolan said.

Since the hit-and-run crash, Black, who was a food delivery worker, has started a GoFundMe page and has received $4,570 as of Tuesday afternoon. “I’m left with questions about what to do and how to get back to work,” Black wrote on his GoFundMe page.

Carolan said the issue is especially personal to her because her husband was hit by a vehicle three years ago when he was walking home from work from the Journal Square PATH train station in Jersey City. He is still suffering from back pain, she said. In his case, however, the driver stopped and participated in the police report, which has allowed Carolan’s family to pay medical bills through the driver’s insurance.

Carolan said she hopes the petition she started puts pressure on elected officials and makes clear that they will face consequences during the next election cycle if they allow DeGise to continue serving on the council.

“Her job is to represent the constituents of the city. She hit a constituent and left him on the side of the road — it just speaks to a reckless disregard for the well-being of our city’s residents,” Carolan said.

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