Civil rights lawyer calls for police who singled out Black teen in mall fight to be fired

Bridgewater Police reviewing officer conduct

Josh Marcus
San Francisco
Saturday 19 February 2022 21:53 GMT
US police seen arresting black teen provokes widespread anger.mp4

A prominent civil rights lawyer is warning “this is how our children become hashtags”, after video went viral of New Jersey police officers breaking up a fist fight and pinning a Black teenager to the ground in handcuffs while the white boy with whom he was fighting isn’t restrained.

“They should be relieved of their duties if they believe this is good policing … because this is how our children become hashtags,” civil rights attorney Ben Crump told The New York Post on Saturday. “When you see that video it’s just shocking because it underscores what we’ve been saying all along, that the police treat Black people differently than white people. For decades Black people have been saying this.”

Last Saturday, 14-year-old Z’Kye Husain came to blows with an older boy he says was harassing his friend at the Bridgewater Commons Mall in Bridgewater, New Jersey. When police arrived, they tore the older boy away from the fight, but only handcuffed Mr Husain, driving their knees into his back and neck to pin him to the ground in a manner reminiscent of George Floyd.

“I was scared and it made me think.. it made me feel small and inferior; like I was like less important than the older kid,” he told the Post.

Mr Husain was released to his mother shortly after the fight, and both boys have been banned from the mall for three years.

Bridgewater police have launched an internal review of the incident, which demonstrated widespread controversy after video of the interaction went viral.

Many commentators agreed with a bystander in the clip who says, “Yo, it’s ‘cause he’s Black. Racially motivated.”

New Jersey governor Phil Murphy condemned the police response on display.

“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 wrote in a statement on Twitter on Tuesday. “We’re committed to increasing trust between law enforcement and the people they serve.”

Mr Husain’s mother has also criticised what happened.

“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. It just doesn’t make sense,” she told NBC News.

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