NEWARK, N.J. – Two police officers in New Jersey are suspended from duty pending an investigation after a video of the pair arresting a 15-year-old boy went viral.
A report from ABC 7 New York said that the officers work for the New Jersey Institute of Technology, but the arrest happened off-campus.
Their report went on to say that the NJIT police officers attempted to stop the teen for a bicycle infraction on Monday, August 26. When he didn’t comply with the officers as they told him to stop, they gave chase.
A witness claimed that the officers were chasing after the teenager in their as he pedaled away. That same witness said that the officers actually made contact with the boy’s bike using the cruiser to try and get him to stop.
When the teen hopped up onto the sidewalk, still on his bike, the witness said that one of the officers tackled him to the ground. A crowd gathered as the officers pinned the suspect to the ground and secured him in handcuffs, placing him under arrest.
“We were attempting to make a bike stop before you took off on us,” one officer can be heard saying in the video. “We have to cuff you.”
A crowd gathered around the officers as they took the boy into custody.
“Shut your mouth,” can be heard from one of the officers.
Witnesses described the teenage boy as looking like a ‘baby’ and ‘clearly frightened’ by his encounter with the NJIT officers. The video, posted to Twitter, has been viewed nearly 10,000 times since it was posted on August 26.
“If this happened to u at the age of 15 for not stopping at a stop sign what would u do? Justice needs to come for this young 15 yr old boy who was clearly frightened and harassed by NJIT police. This is ridiculous and IT NEEDS TO STOP,” the post read.
If this happened to u at the age of 15 for not stopping at a stop sign what would u do? Justice needs to come for this young 15 yr old boy who was clearly frightened and harassed by NJIT police. This is ridiculous and IT NEEDS TO STOP. @Rutgers_Newark @NJITPolice @CityofNewarkNJ pic.twitter.com/ogg4bWTuB3
— Oge🖤 (@____oge) August 27, 2019
Now, those officers have been placed on administrative leave while local law enforcement agencies conduct an investigation into the incident.
Officials say they are concerned over how the arrest was handled. Additionally, the original location of the attempted stop happened on Rutgers-Newark campus – not NJIT.
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The New Jersey Institute of Technology released a formal statement regarding the incident.
“There was a concerning incident on Monday, August 26 involving a juvenile who was apprehended off campus by two of our university police officers. The circumstances of this matter are troubling, and NJIT has launched an investigation that will include the involvement of an independent law enforcement agency. While that investigation proceeds expeditiously, we are conducting a review of pursuit procedures and training and have placed both involved officers on administrative leave. NJIT is part of a larger community, and our university’s partnership with the City of Newark and our shared community is critically important. That relationship is strong thanks to mutual respect and proactive, positive engagement efforts, some of which are led by our Office of Public Safety. We will continue to work in partnership with the City and Newark’s community members. We will investigate this matter thoroughly and take all appropriate actions as soon as the investigation is complete.”
There were no details available on whether the 15-year-old boy was facing any formal charges.