Viral video of police officers pinning down and handcuffing a Black teen at a New Jersey mall while a white teen he was fighting watched from a couch sparks investigation

Viral video of police officers pinning down and handcuffing a Black teen at a New Jersey mall while a white teen he was fighting watched from a couch sparks investigation
  • A video of a New Jersey mall fight between two teens — one white and one Black — has gone viral.

  • Police officers were filmed pinning down the Black teen while the white teen watched from a couch.

  • An investigation has been launched into the two police officers' actions.

A video of police officers breaking up a fight at a New Jersey mall has sparked anger over accusations that law enforcement treated the two teenagers involved in the scuffle — one Black and one white — differently.

In a video documenting the fight at the Bridgewater Commons mall in Bridgewater Township, New Jersey, the teens could be seen arguing.

"Get your hand out of my face," the Black teen said, pushing away the hand of the white teen, who was pointing at him.

The white teen then shoved the Black teen hard, and the two began fighting. The white teen threw the Black teen first onto a nearby couch and then onto the ground. Two police officers ran over while the white teen was standing over the Black teen, who was throwing punches from the ground.

One officer pushed the white teen onto the nearby couch and motioned for him to stay there before joining the other officer in pinning down the Black teen on his stomach. Someone could be heard saying "he swung at me first" as the two officers put their knees on the Black teen's back and handcuffed him. The white teen stood up from the couch and continued to watch.

"It's cause he's Black. Racially motivated," someone could be heard saying in the video's background.

As the video ended, one officer brought the Black teen, still in handcuffs, to his feet while the other officer prompted the white teen to sit back on the couch.

The local New York outlet ABC 7 reported that the fight involved a Black eighth grader, identified as Kye, and a white high schooler whose name has not been released.

"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," Kye told ABC 7. "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."

ABC 7 reported that the white teen was never handcuffed and that neither teen was charged over the incident.

Kye's mother, Eboné, told ABC 7 that she was grateful that her son was OK but wanted the two police officers fired.

"I had to watch it on mute. I still haven't watched it and listened to the sound, I'm baby-stepping my way into watching it, but it's just crazy," she said.

"It doesn't take two cops to hold a 14-year-old boy down who is not resisting, while the other boy is just going free and still going off on my son. It just doesn't make sense," Eboné told a local NBC station in an interview Tuesday.

On Wednesday, a letter from Mayor Matthew Moench of Bridgewater Township said an investigation had been launched over the incident.

"The Township Administration is aware of a video circulating on social media involving some young people and officers of the Bridgewater Police Department," Moench wrote. He added that the local prosecutor's office would be conducting an "independent review" of the incident with the police department's support.

"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," Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey tweeted Wednesday. "We're committed to increasing trust between law enforcement and the people they serve."

In a Facebook post Tuesday, the Bridgewater Township Police Department said it was aware of the incident.

"We recognize that this video has made members of our community upset and are calling for an internal affairs investigation," the police department's statement said.

The Bridgewater Township Police Department didn't immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider.

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