BRIDGEWATER — Township police respond to social media outcry after captured video the contrast in how officers reacted to a fight at Bridgewater Commons between two teenagers who appear to be of different races.
The video shows police sitting the white teenager on a couch while taking the black teenager to the ground and restraining him with one foot on his back.
In a roughly minute-long clip posted to Facebook, a teenager who appears to be white points to a teenager who appears to be black, who pushes his hand away.
The first teen then pushes the second teen with both hands and the two begin to grapple and throw punches as other teens watch and some take a video of the fight.
After half a minute, two township policemen arrive, a woman and a man. Both appear to be white.
The policewoman pushes the first teenager onto a sofa and briefly leans over with a hand on his shoulder.
At the same time, the male officer pulls the second teen to the ground, places one knee on his back, and begins to restrain his hands behind his back.
The first officer leaves the teen who appears to be white unattended and unrestrained to help restrain the teen already on the ground.
At one point, the first teen stands up and watches the two officers restrain the teen he was fighting.
You can click here to watch the video clip but be warned that he understands profane language.
The Bridgewater Township Police Department addressed the incident on its Facebook page on Monday and asked any other witnesses to submit a video.
“We recognize that this video has upset members of our community and call for an internal affairs investigation. Officers were able to respond quickly to this incident and prevent it from escalating due to a tip we received from the community,” police said.
The Somerset County Attorney’s Office confirmed it was leading a review into how officers handled the fight.
“The matter has been referred to the Somerset County Attorney’s Office Internal Affairs Unit which is investigating the incident pursuant to direction and direction from the New Jersey Attorney General,” the office said in a statement Tuesday.
Anyone present at the time of the fight and who may have recorded part of it can contact the Somerset County District Attorney‘s Office Internal Affairs Unit at 908-575-3300 or through the STOPit app, which allows citizens to provide anonymous reports, including videos and photos.
STOPit can be downloaded for free on a smartphone from Google Play Store or Apple App Store, access code: SOMERSETNJ.
“The men and women of the Bridgewater Township Police Department are grateful to our community partners and look forward to continuing to build our positive relationships,” the township police department also said in its written statement.
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