POINT PLEASANT BEACH, NJ – Point Pleasant Police Chief Joseph Michigan said his police officers did the right thing after confronting and arresting a black man on the Point Pleasant Boardwalk who was carrying an open container of alcohol. The incident, recorded on video went viral.
“One of the biggest problems with social media is that it often presents only one side of a story creating a false narrative,” Michigan said of the incident after a video of the encounter went viral on Twitter. “A recent Instagram post where Point Pleasant Beach Police Officers arrested a subject on the boardwalk this past weekend highlights such misinformation.”
The organizers told protesters not to buy food or drinks from Jenkinson’s businesses.
In July police arrested a 29 year old black man during a disturbance on the boardwalk. The incident was portrayed as police violence against the man, but Point Pleasant Police Chief Michigan says there’s more to the story that wasn’t captured on the 1-minute video published on the internet.
“The author of the post suggests that the male subject did nothing wrong and was being harassed for only drinking a beer on the boardwalk,” Michigan said.
According to Michigan, on July 12th at 5:55 pm, a twenty-nine-year-old resident of Garfield. NJ, was walking down the Point Pleasant Beach boardwalk drinking out of a bottle of “Hennessey” Liquor.
Officers stopped Mr. Murphy and informed him of the local borough ordinance which prohibits the consumption of alcoholic beverages in public. He was asked for identification so a borough ordinance summons could be issued for the violation.
“Mr. Murphy did not have identification and provided a false name to the officers,” Michigan said. “After several attempts to properly identify the subject and after Mr. Murphy began to walk away from officers, he was placed under arrest for obstruction.”
Michigan said instead of listening to the officer’s lawful commands to place his hands behind his back, he began resisting arrest, by not allowing officers to position his hands behind his back and pulling away from them.
“Mr. Murphy was brought to the ground by officers, where he was restrained and handcuffed,” he added. “After his immediate removal from the boardwalk, he was processed and released from Point Pleasant Beach Police Headquarters. Mr. Murphy was NOT arrested for drinking in public; he was arrested for failure to give his proper name (N.J.S. 2C:29-2A) and resisting arrest (N.J.S. 2C:29-1A).”
Michigan said comments made against the officers on the scene were unsettling as police were simply enforcing the law.
“Many comments have been made about the number of officers on the scene, but what the video fails to capture is a volatile crowd shouting obscenities at the officers who were upholding the law. Additional officers were called to ensure the safety and security of all patrons on the boardwalk at the time,” Michigan added. “No excessive force was used on Mr. Murphy. In fact, officers in the middle of attempting to restrain Mr. Murphy can be seen removing a bench from the area to prevent an injury.”
Michigan said Murphy and all involved officers walked away unharmed, and he was safely removed from the scene.
“I support and stand by the actions of my officers not only in this incident but also in their constant professionalism during this summer season,” he added. “Based on statistics from this point last year in 2019, there has been a 170% increase on the issuance of borough ordinances for drinking in public as well as other offenses.”
Based on recent conversations with public officials and residents, many perceive that Point Pleasant Beach has become less of a family vacation destination due to the aforementioned statistics.
“This staggering increase threatens the quality of life for our residents, and it is a threat I plan to fight head-on,” he said. “In order to preserve the family-friendly atmosphere, we will continue to employ a zero-tolerance enforcement for these quality of life offenses and disorderly behavior. We will not allow Point Pleasant Beach to lose its small-town charm. I ask those who attempt to portray our officers and town in a negative light to get all facts before spreading misinformation: law enforcement has enough challenges to contend with in our current climate. I will continue to support my officers during these very trying times. Before you accept a social media post as fact, remember to account for both sides of the story.”
The video of the incident has since been removed from Twitter.