DISTANCE RESISTANCE: NJ cops using batons, pepper spray to break up crowd
Cop repeatedly beats a man while another pins him to the ground ‘for not following social distancing rules’ – despite the officers not wearing masks themselves
- Footage from the incident on Tuesday afternoon shows a Jersey City police officer repeatedly hitting a man
- The man is pinned to the ground by another cop as he’s battered with the baton
- Six cops responded to a fight involving 100 people according to police but it was unclear how many more ended up supporting the officers
- Social media users have claimed the cops became violent while trying to enforce social distancing measures
- A video shows two men fighting before cops arrived
- Jersey City Public Safety Officer James Shea said he believes the cops used the right amount of force and that it was taken after pepper spray did not work
- The incident is under investigation but no officers are being scrutinized as yet
Footage from a street fight on Tuesday afternoon shows a Jersey City police officer – who is white – repeatedly hitting a man – who is African American – while he’s pinned to the ground, and now activists are calling for the cops to be fired.
The clip filmed by a witness captured the man trying to raise his arms to protect his face as the law enforcement officer strikes him over and over again.
According to activists who shared details of the incident, about 20 cops showed up the scene on Bostwick Avenue.
Footage from the incident on Tuesday afternoon shows a Jersey City police officer – who is white – repeatedly hitting the male – who is African American
The cop is seen lifting his arm to strike the man with a baton despite him being pinned to the ground by another officer
A man wearing white (left) is seen rushing over to help someone on the ground. Another man in white is seen getting involved (right)
The men had been involved in an altercation prior to their arrival after a 5.15pm call. The entire incident lasted 10 minutes and police estimated 100 people were involved.
Footage released by the Hudson County Prosecutors Office (HCPO) showed the fight before it escalated to police using force.
The police said bodycam footage will be reviewed as part of an investigation into the incident by HCPO. However the officers are not being investigated. Six officers initially arrived but police could not initially confirm how many ended up there.
It’s unclear exactly what happened before the police started using batons on the group. However police said pepper spray was not working on one of the men.
Jersey City Public Safety Officer James Shea said they will be looking into the time period between the two social media videos. Shea said in a press conference on Wednesday that they will also look into whether the officers involved were wearing face masks during the interaction.
One person tweeted about the cops – many of whom were not wearing face coverings amid the coronavirus pandemic: ‘Jersey City police beating up Black people for not social distancing. The irony is that they’re not social distancing either.’
One social media user tweeted the video to Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, Governor Phil Murphy as well as other leaders as they demanded the officers involved face discipline.
A Peace In The Streets rally has been organized for this Sunday with an aim for the Chief of Police to fire the officers who used excessive.
Activists also demand a public apology from the department addressing victims and greater community, financial compensation to those who were injured and mandatory training on dealing with inner city communities with a big African American population.
Activists want the training methods to be open to the public for viewing and critique.
Twitter users called the footage ‘troubling’.
An officer (left) is seen about to strike a member of the group. People trying to de-escalate the situation are seen recoiling as the cops try to beat them off
Social media users noted many of the cops were not wearing face masks amid the COVID-19 pandemic
Now activists want the cops to used excess force to be fired, financial compensation for those hurt, and for politicians to get involved
One social media user compared the incident to the march on Selma where civil rights activists were beaten and killed.
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