'Racially disparate treatment': New Jersey governor condemns police for racist behaviour towards a teen

WION Web Team
New Jersey, United States Updated: Feb 18, 2022, 10:41 AM(IST)

The issue of racism in the law enforcement is a lightning rod in the United States, with young Black men being disproportionately impacted by police violence. Photograph:( AFP )

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An internal investigation has been promised by police in Bridgewater Township, who acknowledged on Facebook that the video had 'made members of our community upset'

In New Jersey police violently tackled a Black teenager during a mall fight with a white man. A video of the incident that sparked outrage online, prompting the state's governor to condemn appeared to be "racially disparate treatment."

In the wake of the controversy over this incident, Governor Phil Murphy said there's more work to be done on policing in New Jersey.

Publicly condemning the police action Phil Murphy said “It is quite apparently racially disparate treatment.”

"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," he tweeted on Tuesday.

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Various media houses posted the video earlier this week. It showed a fistfight breaking out between two teenagers at a shopping mall in Bridgewater, New Jersey, a suburb of New York City. 

Ten seconds into the video, two police officers arrive and forcefully separate the teens.

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One police officer violently throws the Black teenager to the ground, while the young white man is merely made to sit on a sofa.

In the video, we see the female police officer kneeling on the back of the young Black man as he lies flat on his stomach, while a male police officer handcuffs him.

"They basically tackle me to the ground and then the one -- the male officer put his knee in my back and then he starts putting me in cuffs," the Black teen, who gave his name as Kye, told ABC.

"And then the female officer came over and put her knee on my upper back too and started helping putting cuffs on me."

Video does not show what became of the young white man who was not arrested, nor does it show the rest of the arrest of the Black teenager.

An internal investigation has been promised by police in Bridgewater Township, who acknowledged on Facebook that the video had "made members of our community upset".

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A spokesperson for the New Jersey attorney general said their office is assisting the local prosecutor's office with its investigation.

"The attorney general's office is committed to ensuring thorough, fair, and independent investigations of police use-of-force incidents and police conduct," said the spokesperson.

The "Implicit bias" in the Bridgewater video was also condemned by Steffie Bartley, Northeast Regional Director for the Anti-Racist National Action Network. 

"Why was the young Black man on the ground with handcuffs while the young white man was sitting on the couch as if he were overseeing?" he said in a statement.

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The issue of racism in the law enforcement is a lightning rod in the United States, with young Black men being disproportionately impacted by police violence.

Almost two years ago in 2020, video footage showing the killing of George Floyd, a Black man, by police sparked protests all over the country. 

(With inputs from agencies)

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