WOW… so this is how Ridgewood, NJ police officers make sure people wear helmets when riding bikes? The EXCESSIVE use of force against this 15-year-old Latinx bicyclist is unacceptable!! We need answers NOW. pic.twitter.com/bfp02uJZiT
— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) July 27, 2020
The Ridgewood Police Department in New Jersey is facing criticism after video showed two of their officers throwing a 15-year-old boy onto the ground.
So [Ridgewood police] ‘protect & serve’ our youth by ensuring they ride bicycles with a helmet by beating them down & arresting them?” said Karol Ruiz, co-president of Wind of the Spirit, a group that fights for immigrant rights. “This is a minor. He is Latino.”
Footage depicts an officer pulling at the front of a bike, which was being ridden by a boy in a black shirt. A second cop approaches the teen from behind, and seized him by the shoulders. Bystanders call out in outrage as the police drag the child to the ground.
“What are you doing?” said a bystander.
The teen called out to the officers to get off him.
“My stomach,” he said, before police finished handcuffing his hands behind his back and pulled him up.
“This is one more example demonstrating the need for the reforms of the Office of the Attorney General proposes and much more,” Ruiz told NorthJersey.com. The New Jersey Office of the Attorney General did not immediately respond to a Law&Crime request for comment about the incident.
In a statement obtained by Law&Crime, police said that the incident started with a large group of bicyclists obstructing traffic and causing safety hazards. Cops said officers were using sirens and verbal commands from a public address system to try to get the group off the road because of safety concerns.
According to the statement, patrol units stopped to speak to the bicyclists about safety and their behavior, but the boy in question “disregarded the safety of others.” He rode past an officer, and tried to leave when he was told he would be issued a summons, the police said. They say he resisted when they attempted to take him into custody.
Officers identified the boy as a 15-year-old from Sloatsburg, New York. The teen was let go when his parents signed a release form, but he was issued four summonses for motor vehicle violations, police said.
“Due to many facets of this incident, including, but not limited to the fact that we review every use of force incident and feedback received from the public, this incident is still under active investigation,” police said. “This incident has also been referred to the Internal Affairs Unit.”
[Screeengrab via Attorney Ben Crump/Twitter video]
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