Bridgewater Commons mall fight
After police break up a New Jersey mall fight, a Black teen is handcuffed while the White teen involved in the feud looks on from a coach. Sienna Freidinger/TMX
New Jersey police are under fire after two officers responded to a mall fight and handcuffed a Black teen while the White teen involved in the brawl was allowed to sit on a nearby couch.
The one-minute video of the Saturday fight at Bridgewater Commons in Bridgewater Township shows the teens arguing with each other before the two exchange punches.
A still of the video shows Bridgewater police officers pin the Black teen to the ground and handcuff him.
Two Bridgewater Police Department cops arrive and pull the White teen onto a nearby couch, as they pin the Black teen, 14, to the floor and handcuff him.
The female officer appears to place her knee on the back of the Black teen’s neck. At one point, the White teen can be seen standing up and looking down at his rival.
“Yo! It’s cause he’s Black, racially motivated,” a person can be heard saying in the background.
The New Jersey mall where two teens got into a fistfight.
The officers can be seen pulling the Black teen up off the floor and placing him on another couch.
The video went viral on social media, and on Monday, the Bridgewater Police Department announced a probe into incident on the agency’s Facebook page.
“The Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office is assisting in the investigation,” the agency posted.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy weighed in on Twitter, saying he was “deeply disturbed by what appears to be racially disparate treatment in this video.”
New Jersey NAACP President Richard T. Smith on Tuesday called for the Bridgewater officers who responded to be removed from the police force pending the outcome of the investigation.
“When Bridgewater police found two youths fighting, the immediate reaction was to aggressively throw the Black child to the ground, knee placed around the neck area and cuffed behind the back,” Smith said in a statement.
“At the same time, the White youth, at least equally at fault for the fight as his Black counterpart, was carefully eased onto a couch and treated like a victim,’ he added.
The Black teen, who is in eighth grade, told NBC News that the dispute started when he confronted the White teen for bullying his friend.
The teen’s mom told the news outlet she was outraged. “It doesn’t take two cops to hold a 14-year-old boy down who’s not resisting, while the other boy is just kind of going free and still going off on my son,” she said. “It just doesn’t make sense.”
The Black teen’s family has hired attorney Ben Crump, the news site reported. Fox News Digital blurred the faces in the footage to protect the teens’ identities.
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