Footage Shows New Jersey Cops Kicking, Pepper Spraying Group Of Teens

Police of Maplewood, New Jersey, are under fire for brutalizing a group of teens last year. Outraged residents are calling for the chief of police to resign.

Officials in Maplewood New Jersey are in trouble with residents after video footage surfaced of local police kicking and macing a group of teens.

Although the video has just recently been released, the incident occurred on July 5, 2016, when four teens were arrested after the Maplewood Township’s annual fireworks show.

The footage exposes officers punching, kicking, and using pepper spray on at least one of the youths who can be heard shouting “Ow, f*** no, ow, ow!” while wiping his eyes with his shirt, The Village Green reports.

As the officers tried to direct the group toward the opposite direction of where they all live, a scuffle broke out in which the police pushed two of the teens to the ground and appeared to handcuff them before proceeding to punch and kick them. The incident report claims that one of the teens spat at an officer, which is what apparently triggered the physical altercation.

Six officers have since faced disciplinary action for the incident, with at least one being suspended. 

The Essex County Prosecutor’s Office found that there was not enough evidence to pursue a criminal prosecution against Police Chief Robert Cimino and Captain Joshua Cummis; however an internal affairs investigation and an independent investigation initiated by township leaders are still underway.

This outcome did not go far enough to many local residents who are calling for Cimino’s resignation. According to Maplewood Patch, several community members and advocacy groups are questioning whether the arrests and use of force against the youths was excessive. 

The SOMA Black Parents Workshop released a statement expressing their outrage over the ordeal.

“Under the orders of Chief [Robert] Cimino, the youth were forced by police to walk to the border of neighboring Irvington, as Cimino is heard on radio dispatch transmissions to push the youth into ‘their’ town and to ‘secure our borders.’ The youth were harassed, shoved, body-slammed, pepper-sprayed, punched and kicked as they were simply trying to return to their homes… in Maplewood and South Orange.”

As nationwide police brutality persists, one very important question remains: Will people of color in America ever be able to feel safe in their own communities?  

WARNING: Videos contain disturbing content that may be unsuitable for some viewers.

Banner/Thumbnail Photo Credit: Reuters, BRIA WEBB

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