The New Jersey NAACP is calling on the Bridgewater Police Department to remove two police officers filmed breaking up a fight by violently arresting a Black teen while allowing an older white teen to remain free. Video of Saturday’s incident at a shopping mall shows 14-year-old Z’Kye Husain, who is Black, intervening to stop a 16-year-old white teen from bullying his younger friend. The older teen shoves Z’Kye, and the two begin trading blows. Fourteen seconds into the fight, a pair of white police officers arrive to pull the boys apart. One officer wrestles Z’Kye to the floor and puts his knee on the boy’s back. The other officer pushes the white teen onto a couch and motions to him to remain still; she then joins the other officer, pressing her knee into Z’Kye’s shoulder, near his neck. Z’Kye is then handcuffed, while the older white teen — who instigated the fight — looks on and is not arrested. The video ends with a bystander’s comments.
Bystander: “Yo, it’s because he’s Black. [bleep] Racially motivated!”
On Wednesday, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy called the video deeply disturbing and promised an investigation. Z’Kye’s mother, Eboné, told CNN that racism clearly played a role in the officers’ disparate treatment of the two boys.
Eboné Husain: “I hate to say this, but if it wasn’t for race, then what is it? What made them tackle my son, not the other kid? What made them be so aggressive with my son, not the other kid? Why is the other kid sitting down, looking at my son be humiliated and put into cuffs? It just doesn’t make sense. And it makes me angry.”