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Video of a Fist-fight at Bridgewater Mall Ends with Black Teen in Handcuffs and Community Upset

By Barbara A. Preston | February 17, 2022


“As the first African American to serve as the commissioner director of Somerset County, I am heartbroken by the video that shows an African American teenager being handcuffed by police while the other teenager in the altercation is being treated as the victim," Somerset County Commissioner Director Shanel Y. Robinson said in a video statement released on Wednesday.

Watch Commissioner Director Robinson's video statement.


The Bridgewater Township Police Department issued a statement on the incident, in which two Bridgewater police officers respond to a fight on Saturday at the Bridgewater Commons Mall. A video of the arrest was shared on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat. It begins with two teens arguing. A white teen is poking his finger in the face of the Black teen and asking, "What are you going to do about it." The video has been viewed by The Montgomery News staff.


Bridgewater police said, "We are aware of a video on social media of our officers stopping a fight in progress at the Bridgewater Commons Mall. We recognize that this video has made members of our community upset and are calling for an internal affairs investigation.


"The officers were able to respond quickly to this incident and stop it from escalating because of a tip we received from the community. We have requested that the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office assist us in this matter and are requesting patience as we strictly adhere to the New Jersey Attorney General’s Internal Affairs directive. We appreciate the videos that we have already received from community members and ask that anyone who has a video of this incident please email it to tips@bridgewaterpd.com.


"The men and women of the Bridgewater Township Police Department are thankful for our community partners and look forward to continuing to build our positive relationships,"according to the statement.


It is unknown which high school the teens involved in the fight attended. Teens from multiple towns throughout Somerset County are known to hang out in the mall.


New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy commented on Wednesday that the "appearance of what is racially disparate treatment is deeply, deeply disturbing."


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Commissioner Director Robinson concluded: “I spoke with Governor Murphy and Attorney General Platkin today, and we all agree that the video of the incident at the Bridgewater Mall is upsetting and that there must be a full investigation to uncover all the facts and deliver accountability.


"As a mother and grandmother, watching incidents like this over the past few years has been particularly difficult," she said. "Having this happen in my own community where I raised my family makes it even worse, and my heart goes out to the young people who were involved, and to everyone who has been disturbed by this video."


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