BRIDGEWATER — Among the people criticizing police for the way they responded to a fight at Bridgewater Commons mall, appearing to give a white teen a softer touch than his Black opponent, is the white teen who was in the fight.

Video of the fight and arrest has generated widespread interest, including from Gov. Phil Murphy and his acting attorney general, and is under investigation by the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office. Local chapters of the Black Lives Matter movement in New Jersey have called on the municipality to publicly identify the officers and fire them for discriminatory policing.

The white in the video — Umar Joseph Franco — told MyCentralJersey.com that he was surprised that police arrested Z’Kye Husain, a Black eighth-grade student, as they scuffled in a lounge area on the mall's third floor.

Video of the fight shows two Bridgewater police officers, a man and a woman, running up and pulling Franco off Husain. The female officer sat Franco on a couch while the male officer placed a knee on Husain's back and handcuff him while the white teen freely gets up and moves around.

"I was confused because I offered for them to arrest me because I knew it was wrong," the 15-year-old Franco told MyCentralJersey.com, adding that he did not think Husain resisted officers.

A prominent civil rights lawyer representing the Black teen says the fight was sparked after he stood up to a bully.

teen fight at Bridgewater mall (Tamra Goins via Facebook)
teen fight at Bridgewater mall (Tamra Goins via Facebook)
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Identity of police officers at Bridgewater Commons mall

The New Jersey chapter of Black Lives Matter said in a written statement that the group is "enraged" at needing to address "another Black traumatic experience involving law enforcement in New Jersey."

The group issued a list of demands including:

  • Release the name of the officers involved in the unlawful arrest
  • Terminate the officers involved
  • Charge the officers for excessive use of force/illegal arrest
  • Release all police reports pertaining to the arrests of Blacks by Bridgewater police officers
  • Oversight of the Bridgewater police by the state attorney general's office

"The Bridgewater Township police department, without learning what occurred without hesitation victimized and applied excessive use of force, tackled and unlawfully arrested Kye," the BLM chapters said in their letter.

BLM accused Bridgewater police of having a "long history of racially profiling and discriminating against Black people in the community" but did not offer specifics in their statement.

The township has called on the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office to investigate the actions of the officers to make sure they were in line with the state Attorney General's use of force policies and regulations.

Bridgewater mall fight (Erica LD via Facebook)
Bridgewater mall fight (Erica LD via Facebook)
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Dan Alexander is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at dan.alexander@townsquaremedia.com

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The Ultimate Guide to New Jersey Brewpubs

From the website that gave you the "Friendliest bars" and places to watch the game, comes the ultimate guide to New Jersey brewpubs.

So what's a "brew pub"?

According to Thompson Island's Article on the differences between a craft brewery, microbrewery, brewpub & gastropub, it says:
 
"A brewpub is a hybrid between a restaurant and a brewery. It sells at least 25% of its beer on-site in combination with significant food services. At a brewpub, the beer is primarily brewed for sale inside the restaurant or bar. Where it's legally allowed, brewpubs may sell beer to go or distribute it to some offsite destinations."

New Jersey has tons of Brewpubs, some of which have been around for years and some that have just opened in the past year.

Here is a full list of the 21 brewpubs in New Jersey according to New Jersey Craft Beer:

NJ Diners that are open 24/7