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Video of police breaking up Bridgewater Commons Mall brawl sparks outrage and investigation

BRIDGEWATER, NJ – A viral video of police responding to a fight between two teenagers at the Bridgewater Commons Mall in New Jersey over the weekend sparked outrage and sparked an internal investigation into the officer’s apparent treatment of the black teenager.

The video, which was taken by a bystander, appears to show the two teenagers arguing and then they start punching each other. Shortly after, two police officers from the Township of Bridgewater arrived on the scene and broke up the altercation. However, only the black teenager, who was identified as an eighth grader named Kye, was handcuffed after being thrown to the ground, the video showed.

“They basically tackled me to the ground, then this one – the officer put his knee in my back, then he started handcuffing me,” Kye told ABC News station WABC in New York, in an interview that aired Tuesday night. “And then the female officer came and put her knee on my upper back too and started helping me put the handcuffs on. And while [the other teenager] was just sitting on the couch watching the whole thing.”

In the video, the female officer sits the other teen who traded punches on the couch, then appears to put her knee on Kye’s neck as she helps the officer handcuff him.

The other teenager involved in the fight, who has not been identified by ABC News, was not handcuffed.

The Bridgewater Township Police Department told ABC News in a statement that police have asked the Somerset County District Attorney’s Office to assist in an internal investigation into the incident.

“We recognize that this video has upset members of our community and call for an internal affairs investigation,” police said, urging anyone with additional videos of the incident to share them with law enforcement. .

Frank Roman Jr., deputy chief of the Somerset County District Attorney’s Office, told ABC News in a statement that the incident was being investigated by the County District Attorney’s Office Internal Affairs Unit. Somerset.

Troy Fischer, general manager of the Bridgewater Commons Mall, told ABC News that after the fight, the two teenagers were “immediately banned from our property for the next three years.” He asked further questions about the incident to the police.

Kye told WABC that the fight allegedly started after the high school student picked on Kye’s friend, who is in 7th grade.

“My friend was arguing with the eldest so I jumped into a fight, and since he’s older he was on top of me and he’s taller,” Kye said. “I was just confused and angry about it.”

Kye’s mother, Ebone Husain, told WABC that she wanted as many people as possible to watch the video.

When asked what she wanted to see happen, Husain said she wanted the officers to “become unemployable”.

Amid the outrage, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy responded to the incident in a tweet Tuesday night.

“While an investigation is still gathering the facts about this incident, I am deeply troubled by what appears to be racially disparate treatment in this video,” he wrote. “We are committed to building trust between law enforcement and the people they serve.”

Bridgewater Township Mayor Matthew Moench also released a statement in response to the incident.

Moench said he was “fully confident that the prosecutor’s review will be impartial, objective and thorough” and urged the public not to jump to conclusions until the investigation is complete.

ABC News’ William Gretsky and Ben Stein contributed to this report.

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