Family criticizes police altercation that injured teen at Newport Center Mall

The Blake family says that 16-year-old Kalil Blake is now facing multiple charges and had to be taken out of school until further notice due to the situation.

Matt Trapani and Eliecer Marte

Mar 9, 2023, 3:29 AM

Updated 412 days ago

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A Hoboken family is seeking answers after they say their teenage son was involved in a physical altercation with a Jersey City police officer at the Newport Center Mall on Saturday night. That altercation was recorded on camera.
The Blake family says that 16-year-old Kalil Blake is now facing multiple charges and had to be taken out of school until further notice due to the situation.
Blake says that he came to the mall to meet up with a family member. He said police were already at the mall for a call, and that they approached him when they saw him.
“He didn’t say anything to me. He didn’t announce himself or anything as an officer came behind me and started punching me,” the teen says.
As the punches between Blake and the officer were exchanged, the video shows another man struggling with another police officer.
“As a father, seeing this officer really beating on my son [breaks down crying],” says Blake’s father, Leon.
Authorities say that they arrived at the mall around 8 p.m. to respond to a report of a teenage girl who claimed she was threatened by a teenage boy who had a gun.
“The girl doesn’t even know me. I don’t know the girl,” says Blake. “I had nothing to do with it. I was just with my big cousin chatting.”
News 12 asked Blake if he remembered what his reaction was during the incident.
“I probably did react when he hooked me up and I probably said some words,” Blake says.
Blake admits that he did have a small knife on him at the time.
“But they found that after I was unconscious on the floor,” he says.
Blake was arrested. Leon Blake says his son has never been in trouble with the law and that he is a good kid who goes to school, plays football and works at a local supermarket.
“He has a concussion, complaining about dizziness. He can’t eat since the incident happened. He can barely move his jaw. Taking him to different hospitals to see what’s going on,” says Leon Blake.
The Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office would not comment on the situation, citing an ongoing investigation.
A spokesperson for the Jersey City Mayor’s Office wrote in a statement, “It is important to point out that as part of our increased training initiatives, the officers have undergone extensive training for exactly these scenarios to ensure officers only use any type of force when it is absolutely necessary.”
The statement continued, “As has been made clear, in Jersey City we have zero tolerance for excessive use of force.”
“If I beat my son in here today, I’m held accountable. Police will be here, [Child Protection Services] will be here. What’s the difference with that police officer?” asks Leon Blake.
The teen is scheduled to go to court on Thursday. The family says that they don’t have the money for an attorney and would have to depend on a public defender.


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