Does this video show cop going too far in grabbing kid on bike? (Opinion)
This one is a judge-for-yourself.
There are growing calls of wrongdoing aimed at a cop who was caught on video appearing to grab a 15-year-old boy by the neck and taking him to the ground. The incident happened in Ridgewood Sunday when one officer tried to stop the boy who was on a bike and part of a much larger group of bicyclists, police have since said. He appears in the video to be trying to stop the kid by putting his hands on the handlebars. When the boy tries backing away, another cop comes up from behind and appears to grab him by the neck, then a struggle ensues to bring him to the ground.
See a video of the moment here, courtesy of NorthJersey.com. Warning: This video contains violence and graphic language.
In the video, the boy can be heard yelling at the cops to get off of him and complaining about his stomach, but he was never hospitalized. Nor was he charged with a crime. Instead he was issued citations for vehicle offenses.
How did it start and what are people saying?
Police say they were aware of a large group of kids on bikes from nearby Hawthorne and Glen Rock apparently causing some type of disturbance on the roads. So when they came into Ridgewood the police say they tried stopping them to talk to them about their behavior, first using verbal commands and sirens.
An organization called Ridgewood for Black Liberation tweeted, “Ridgewood police used excessive and unacceptable force against a Latinx minor today...we are working with lawyers right now to ensure that this kind of disgusting display of force does not go unaddressed."
Emily Rizzo, an organizer for that group, told NorthJersey.com, “These grown men beat a child in front of a group of children riding bicycles, traumatizing each and every one.”
Karol Ruiz, co-president of immigrant rights group Wind of the Spirit, is saying the kids were just biking through Ridgewood and is calling for the state AG to investigate. “This is one more example demonstrating the need for the reforms of the Office of the Attorney General proposes and much more," NorthJersey.com quoted her saying.
So did this cop do anything wrong? Rizzo’s assertion that law enforcement “beat” the boy seem inflammatory and specious. But was it necessary to take him down with the level of force seen in this video? Personally I’d like to know more before condemning any officer here. I’d like to know exactly what these guys were doing on their bikes that was alarming to law enforcement. I’d like to know if the youth is known to the cops involved and has any history with them. I’d like to hear and see everything that happened before and after.
And I’d really like it if we could all stop judging police only by 45 second cell phone videos that don’t necessarily show the whole story.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski. Any opinions expressed are Jeff Deminski's own.