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A law enforcement investigation has commenced over potential disparate treatment in the way that two cops responded to a fight over the weekend between two New Jersey teens at a shopping mall.
In a viral Facebook video of the brief brawl at the mall that now appears to be deleted, a perception has emerged that the officers who responded and broke up the fisticuffs dealt with the duo differently.
“The female officer pushes the white teen onto a nearby couch and motions for him to stay there. At the same time, the male officer tackles the Black teen to the floor, sitting on him and handcuffing him, while the female officer quickly kneels on his back to keep him down on the ground,” Business Insider explained about the incident that occurred at the Bridgewater, N.J., Commons.
In the background, another teen in the group can be heard saying, “It’s because he’s black — racially motivated.”
Watch the footage embedded below and form your own conclusions:
This happened at Bridgewater Mall in New Jersey. Two kids get into a fight and the police show up. They pull the white kid to the side and proceed to handcuff and arrest the BLACK child only. This young man's name is Z’kye. He's just 14. He was kept in cuffs for 30 minutes, 😤. pic.twitter.com/GqUlMG7oqp
— Charles Cox 🇺🇸 (@closequarters92) February 15, 2022
Kyle, the black eight-grader, told ABC7 that “They basically tackled me to the ground and then the male officer put his knee in my back and then he started putting me in cuffs, then the female officer came over and put her knee on my upper back too and started helping him put cuffs on me while he was just sitting down on the couch watching the whole thing,”
Kyle, who has been banned from the mall for three years, told the news outlet that his adversary, a high schooler, was allegedly picking on a younger kid, which sparked the confrontation.
The youngster’s mom has indicated to CBS New York that the cops should be fired.
In a report aired on PIX 11 embedded below, the older teen, identified as Joey, 15, implied that he was surprised that the cops didn’t put him in cuffs too:
In a letter to residents, Bridgewater Township Mayor Matthew Moench wrote, in part, “The Township Administration is aware of a video circulating on social media involving some young people and officers of the Bridgewater Police Department…Chief [Paul] Payne has requested that the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office conduct an independent review of the incident, with the unqualified support of the BPD.”
The mayor added that officials would make no further comment during the pendency of the investigation and urged the public not to jump to any conclusions before the completion of the probe.
Similarly, Bridgewater PD indicated that “The Bridgewater Twp Police Department is aware of a video on social media of our officers stopping a fight in progress at the Bridgewater Commons Mall. We recognize that this video has made members of our community upset and are calling for an internal affairs investigation. The officers were able to respond quickly to this incident and stop it from escalating because of a tip we received from the community. We have requested that the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office assist us in this matter and are requesting patience as we strictly adhere to the New Jersey Attorney General’s Internal Affairs Directive…”
Cops have also requested that anyone with additional cell phone video of incident to send it to the department.
Democrat Gov. Phil Murphy also weighed in:
Although an investigation is still gathering the facts about this incident, I’m deeply disturbed by what appears to be racially disparate treatment in this video. We’re committed to increasing trust between law enforcement and the people they serve. https://t.co/ck9yCXMmL0
— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) February 16, 2022
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