New Jersey police officers are under scrutiny after multiple videos went viral on social media showing them using excessive force in response to a street scuffle that police had every right to deal with and with a wide latitude. The incident took place on May 5th, 2020, but it was only on May 7th when some Jersey City residents took to social media to blame the police when others believe the police were put into a serious situation and had to make split second decisions with profound ramifications.
Authorities Claim Use of Pepper Spray and Batons Justified
Officials at a news conference stated that the situation went out of control when one of the juveniles tried to reach for an officer’s gun. According to Police Chief Michael Kelly, three 911 calls were made within a short time regarding the street scuffle on Bostwick Avenue.
The last call received by dispatch indicated that over a 100 people were involved in the street fight. Kelly said the department dispatched six officers to bring the crowd under control. However, the crowd fought and engaged with the responding officers so according to many people they did this at their own peril.
Public Safety Director James Shea reported that videos posted online were edited and that they were still recovering original footage.
Proper Procedures and Protocols Followed
Shea said that initial review of the incident and evidence shows that all proper procedures were followed and that use of force was justified. Videos posted online show police officers striking the crowd with batons without even using their guns. They even used pepper spray which proved to be ineffectual at dispersing the crowd.
According to Shea one of the police officers was attacked by a juvenile who grabbed him around the midsection. The juvenile was later arrested by two police officers. The male juvenile was helped by two other females who resisted arrest and it’s amazing the police did not even open fire at them.
The incident resulted in the arrest of two juveniles and three adults as per a city spokeswoman Kimberly Wallace-Scalcione.
Standing Up Against Police Brutality
It is normal to feel confused and scared after experiencing police misconduct, brutality, or excessive force. However, it is important to seek a police misconduct lawyer as soon as possible because victims only get 90 days to file a claim against public entities, including the police department in New Jersey.
Police brutality involves excessive force or violence, false arrest, improper search or seizure, abuse by prison guards, unlawful handcuffing or detention, failure to provide necessary medical care, and due process violations. Police misconduct attorneys can help explain individual civil rights and determine the best possible course of action.
Victims may be entitled to significant compensation for the wrongs and injuries suffered if their lawsuit is successful. In some specific cases, punitive damages can be asked. This is the money wrongdoers are required to pay as punishment.