A New Jersey police department is investigating claims of “brutal and excessive” force and “unlawful” searches in the arrests of four Black Lives Matter activists over the weekend.
The contentious encounter unfolded on Saturday afternoon in Englewood, New Jersey, where a Black Excellence march was taking place to support the BLM movement.
The four activists said as they were marching they witnessed a fight that was not connected to the demonstrators, according to the Ridgewood for Black Liberation.
“They took it upon themselves to break up the fight and continued on their way,” according to the fundraiser for their legal fees. “The Bergen County Sheriff and Englewood Police department brutally attacked and arrested the community organizer and leader Ainsworth Minott, activist Victor Urbaez, his father Victor Urbaez, and his mother Jennese Torres.”
Minott was hospitalized “after being brutally beaten” and cops allegedly illegally took and went through Urbaez’s phone — even calling his girlfriend by accident, the group claims.
A video posted to Twitter shows two of the activists thrown to the ground by police after a tense encounter.
Chief of Police Lawrence Suffern confirmed much of the activists’ account, saying in a statement the members had detoured from the march to break up the fight, which was not connected to the demonstration.
“As responding officers arrived, there appears to have been a confrontation involving the march participants and law enforcement. Subsequent, to the confirmation there were four people that were taken into custody,” the chief said in a statement.
It was unclear how the encounter escalated as the video does not show officers arriving.
Suffern added that “allegations of excessive force are taken very seriously” and local internal affairs will investigate.
Mayor Michael Wildes told NJ.com that the protest was sparsely attended and aimed to address the shootings in the North Jersey city.
The Bergen County Prosecutors Office, which oversees the department and notified of the investigation, did not respond for comment.
Share this article:
Source: Read Full Article