BRIDGEWATER, NJ – A fight that broke out inside the Bridgewater Mall between two hot-headed teens, equally responsible for the fight ended with one of the teens thrown to the floor and handcuffed while the other was able to sit in a chair and watch. It turns out the black teenager was the one being cuffed while the white teenager was treated much differently. Now, the incident is being used to show the difference in treatment by the two teens based on their race.
Both teens were equally responsible for the altercation after a heated argument led to blows, initiated by the white teenager. The white teenager threw the first punch and held a clear advantage during the fight, pummeling the black teen and holding the high ground.
“It’s because he’s black,” one witness said off-camera.
To ensure transparency, the Bridgewater Police have asked the Somerset County Prosecutor to handle the internal affairs investigation, and I have full confidence in their ability to find the answers and bring them to the public. The matter is now being investigated by the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office of Internal Affairs.
Somerset County Commissioner Director Shanel Y. Robinson said she was appalled by the incident.
“As the first African American to serve as the Commissioner Director of Somerset County, I am heartbroken by the video that shows an African American teenager being handcuffed by police while the other teenager in the altercation is being treated as the victim,” Robinson said. “I spoke with Governor Murphy and Attorney General Platkin today, and we all agree that the video of the incident at the Bridgewater Mall is upsetting and that there must be a full investigation to uncover all the facts and deliver accountability. As a mother and grandmother, watching incidents like this over the past few years has been particularly difficult. Having this happen in my own community where I raised my family makes it even worse, and my heart goes out to the young people who were involved, and to everyone who has been disturbed by this video.”
“I have reached out to both families to discuss the incident, and I am hoping to meet with them in the coming days,” Robinson said. “I will also be reaching out to Bridgewater Mayor Moench to discuss how we can work together to restore the trust between law enforcement and the people they serve. We as a community are being challenged, but I am convinced that we will rise to the challenge together.”