Video shows Carteret cop punching teen over and over again
CARTERET — The struggle between a teen and police officer that the teen's family has described as a savage, excessive beating can be seen in newly released video footage.
Carteret police officer Joseph Reiman, 31, the brother of Mayor Daniel Reiman, has been charged with assault in the encounter with the 16-year-old boy. Pictures released by the boy's family show him bloody and bruised in a hospital bed.
Authorities also say the officer failed to turn his body camera on in the May 31 incident — but it was captured in four police vehicle videos, released Monday in response to a public records request by New Jersey 101.5.
The incident began as a traffic stop, but the teen's family has said the teen panicked when he saw an officer behind him and hit the gas, crashing his own vehicle.
Each of the newly released videos shows a different angle. Reiman's car is seen driving fast down a street at night and coming to a stop at the teen’s parked car as he gets out of his car.
The teenager can be seen getting out of the car in two of the videos, but the struggle between the teen and Reiman is only visible in one video. One of the videos is of the back seat of the cruiser and the teen can be seen after he has been placed into the car in cuffs.
The image of the teen’s face was blurred by the Prosecutor’s Office.
In the 17-minute video that shows most of the violent encounter, the teen is seen getting out his stopped car when the time stamp on the video is at 00:31:56.
About 6 seconds later, an officer shouts, “Get on the f***ing ground!” as the teen bends his knees and reaches for the ground.
Three seconds later, the officer comes into the frame of the video and gets over the teen, who is on the ground.
Two seconds after that, the cop begins swinging his fists as the teen appears to roll on the ground beneath the officer.
The audio is hard to make out over the police car siren’s wail, but shouts of “get on the f***ing ground” can be heard.
Much of the struggle is obscured because it takes place partially out of frame. But the officer appears to continue to hit the suspect after almost a minute.
At 00:33:33, another officer comes into the picture as the first officer and teen appear to continue their struggle. For about 13 seconds, there are shouts of “stop resisting!”
The first officer gets up and turns off the car’s siren almost three minutes after the teen first reaches for the ground.
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Prosecutors allege Reiman assaulted the teen after he had surrendered and failed to use "reasonable discretion or restraint."
An EMT report from the Carteret Fire Department, obtained by New Jersey 101.5 in June after a public records request, says the teen told responders he was the “unrestrained driver” of the single car involved in the crash into a telephone pole — and that he fled from the scene. The report also says the teen described fighting with officers on the scene.
But an NJ.com at the time says the teen and other witnesses dispute that account. The teen told the news site he got out of the car and put up his hands, but the officer punched him, knocked him to the ground, and continued to punch and kick him once he’d fallen. He also alleged another officer kicked him in the face, and a third officer eventually put him in a car to and read him his rights
A witness who spoke to New Jersey 101.5 in June said she’d saw the police “throw him on the ground, and he was punching him and yelling at him.”
“It went on for a few minutes,” said the witness, who asked that her name not be published. “I saw the police pull him out of the car and throw him on the ground and I thought he was just going to handcuff him. I wasn’t sure what the deal was or why he was chasing him. It was dark, so I didn’t know he was getting beaten up that badly."
The case has also been referred to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, which will investigate whether the teen’s civil rights may have been violated, Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew Carey said last month.
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