Prosecutor looks into Plainfield arrest that injured 18-year-old
PLAINFIELD — City police have asked the Union County Prosecutor’s Office to investigate a Wednesday night arrest that left an 18-year-old man with an injured arm.
The man was arrested near the 300 block of Liberty Street. The injury required "immediate medical attention," Union County Acting Prosecutor Lyndsay V. Ruotolo said.
Prosecutor's Office spokesman Mark Spivey identified the man as Matthew Webb and said he was charged with third-degree possession of cocaine and lesser offenses, including possession of marijuana, failure to disperse, resisting arrest and criminal trespass.
Webb was released on his own recognizance pending a hearing to take place in Union County Superior Court, according to Spivey.
Video posted to Twitter by Sheldon Goffe (Caution: includes profane language) shows part of an arrest by three officers in front of an apartment building at Liberty Village. The video is captioned "police Brutality In Plainfield NJ. Thought he didn’t live there and decided to slam him and break his arm."
"Yeah he lives there but that’s how the police always act towards us, they don’t listen to us because of that badge," Goffe told New Jersey 101.5 via Twitter messenger.
Goffe said he did not witness the entire encounter between the man in the video and police but said he was told the man was just "minding his business where he lives" when the officers approached.
The man and Goffe are acquaintances who live in the same two-story apartment house.
The video opens with the man lying face down on the front yard with an officer standing over him and attempting to cuff the man as two other officers watch. The man is rolled onto his left side as handcuffs are finally placed on the wrists behind his back.
The man gets up and is walked to a police vehicle past several people.
"He got to get in an ambulance. His arm is broken," one person says in the video.
Goffe said once he was seated he received medical attention from the officers.
"In order to maintain the trust the community has in the men and women of the Plainfield Police Division, our agencies felt it was appropriate to have this matter investigated directly by the Prosecutor’s Office during this tumultuous time," Ruotolo said in a written statement.
Amid national protests over police-involved deaths of black people, Attorney General Gurbir Grewal this week unveiled the expansion of a statewide use-of-force database starting July 1 as well as other policy changes building on police accountability and transparency measures implemented in December.
"We last updated this policy in 2000, and a lot has changed in policing over the last 20 years," Grewal said Tuesday. "We'll be consulting with a wide range of stakeholders, including civil rights leaders, police unions, religious leaders, victims, advocates, and community members to ensure that our policy reflects the values of New Jersey today. We'll be drawing on data collected through our new use of force database, and we plan to issue this new policy no later than the end of this year."
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