US law enforcement has once again come under criticism over its double standards after a video emerged showing officers’ biased response to a fight between a Black teen and a white one.
The video shows the teenagers are arguing at a mall in New Jersey on Saturday when the officers arrive to break up the brawl. The officers then handcuff and pin the black teen to the ground while the white teen involved in the feud is left to sit on a couch.
The fracas at Bridgewater Commons and the subsequent police response have quickly spread on social media, sparking an internal investigation.
According to the video, a verbal argument broke out between the teens before things turned physical and the two exchanged punches and shoves.
Two officers from the Bridgewater Police Department arrived seconds later and pulled the white teen away from the other boy and pushed him onto a nearby couch.
However, with the Black teen already on the ground, the male cop pinned him down and placed his knee on the boy’s back, the video shows.
The female officer then leaves the white teen alone and joins her partner. She also places a knee near the back of the black teen’s neck as the two handcuff him.
In the meantime, the white teen can be seen standing up and looking at the arrest taking place.
“Yo, it’s ’cause he’s Black. Racially motivated,” a person can be heard saying.
The black teen, identified as Kye, told NBC News that he confronted the other boy because he had been bullying his friend.
“He was kind of saying, like, ‘You’re a little kid, you’re my little pet,’ and stuff like that,” Kye said.
Kye’s mother, who also spoke with the news outlet, slammed the way the police responded.
“It doesn’t take two cops to hold a 14-year-old boy down who’s not resisting, while the other boy is just kind of going free and still going off on my son. It just doesn’t make sense,” she said.
Gov. Phil Murphy said in a statement on Twitter that he was “deeply disturbed by what appears to be racially disparate treatment in this video.”
Police brutality against people of color is rife in the US and numerous demonstrations have been held over the issue in cities across the country in recent years.