New Jersey police launched an internal investigation after US television and social media broadcast a video showing two police officers trying to separate two teenagers, a white man and a black man, who were fighting, throwing handcuffs on the ground, only black.
The governor of New Jersey denounced “what looks like a different treatment based on race.”
A video posted on the Storyful platform and broadcast yesterday by ABC, CBS and CNN shows the two teenagers fighting and punching each other in a mall in Bridgetwater Township, New Jersey.
One was white and the other was black. The incident took place last weekend and was recorded by eyewitnesses with their mobile phones.
After a few seconds, two policemen, a man and a woman, appear behind the young men and forcibly separate them. But while a policeman throws the black teenager to the ground, the policewoman allows the white man to sit on a bench and hurries to help her colleague to immobilize the African-American.
The policewoman is then seen putting her knee on the shoulders or neck of the young man who is on the ground, while the policeman is tying his hands behind his back.
The African-American told ABC on Tuesday night that the two police officers “immobilized him on the ground” and that “the man put his knee on my back before he started handcuffing me”.
“Then the woman arrived, put her knee high on my back and started helping him to put my handcuffs on while the other teen was sitting on a bench and watching the scene,” the young man complained.
There is no video from the continuation of the incident and it is not known what happened to the white young man who was not arrested.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said on Twitter on Tuesday night that he was “deeply disturbed by what appears to be a racially different treatment in the video.”
“We need to build trust between those who enforce the law and the people they serve,” he said.
Bridgewater Township Police admitted on Facebook that the video “annoyed members of our community” and announced that an “internal investigation” had been launched.
Last Wednesday night, the National Action Network, the anti-racism association, announced that it was “deeply upset” by the video, which “shows that in the reaction of the police, an undoubted prejudice”.
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