Ridgewood police wrestle teen bike rider to ground — video
RIDGEWOOD — Police say they wrestled a 15-year-old bicyclist to the ground because he was attempting to flee when being issued a summons after refusing to cooperate with police.
Video of the encounter has been wildly circulated on social media since the Sunday incident — often by individuals or in groups criticizing the police response. Ridgewood police say they investigate all use of force incidents, and have referred the incident to their internal affairs unit.
Glen Rock Councilwoman Arati Kreibich, who recently ran in the Democratic primary for Congress, posted the video link to both Facebook and Twitter Sunday, writing "We keep saying: 'not in our town...' 'not our police...' but living while black or brown is dangerous everywhere in America. This happened today in Ridgewood NJ."
Police said the 15-year-old boy from Sloatsburg, in Rockland County, was issued four summonses for motor vehicle violations and released to his parents.
A video clip posted to Twitter, Instagram and Facebook by several people, including Kreibich, appears to show the teen walking alongside his bike, with one officer's hands on its handlebar. Another officer comes up from behind the teen, and the two wrestle him to the pavement. Another teen appears to remove the boy's bike from the situation, as the police put his hands behind his back, holding him stomach to the ground.
Police said the teen had been one of several bicyclists going through Bergen County towns, blocking roads and causing hazards. They said they'd been monitoring the situation in neighboring towns when the bicyclists made their way to Ridewood, where they continued to block roads, and eventually traveled into a closed roadway on East Ridgewood Avenue where the "Welcome Back Ridgewood" event was being held in the Central Business District.
Patrol units stopped the bicyclists to speak with them about their conduct, police said.
"One bicyclist disregarded the safety of others and began to pass the officer as the officer was speaking with the group," Ridgewood Police Chief Jacqueline Luthcke said in a written statement. "After some conversation, the officer advised that bicyclist that he was going to be issued a summons by the officer. At that time, the bicyclist attempted to flee and began to pull his bicycle away from the officer."
Luthcke's statement: continued "The officers on scene then attempted to take custody of the bicyclist and the bicyclist continued to actively resist the officers.
The chief said the teen was taken to police headquarters, where his parents were contacted. They signed a juvenile release form and he was released to his parents, the chief said.
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