Former police chief: Bridgewater mall fight response was ‘dangerous policing’

A former New Jersey police chief has a lot to say about a viral video showing a fight at the Bridgewater Commons Mall and subsequent police response.

News 12 Staff

Feb 17, 2022, 10:45 PM

Updated 887 days ago

Share:

A former New Jersey police chief has a lot to say about a viral video showing a fight at the Bridgewater Commons Mall and subsequent police response.
Critics of the police response are demanding answers as to why officers threw a Black teen on the ground and handcuffed him, while a lighter skin teen was seemingly treated much gentler.
“It was startling, where I said let me go back and watch it again to make sure I didn’t miss anything,” says former Hoboken Police Chief Ken Ferrante.
Ferrante is also president of the Hudson County Chiefs Association. He says that he was shocked by what he saw as he watched two Bridgewater police officers break up the fight and only cuff the Black teen. He says that in his opinion, based on the video, officers cuffed the wrong teen.
“What they should see from their viewpoint when entering is the white male in the black jacket over someone on the floor and he should have been immediately pulled back and taken down,” Ferrante says.
He says that New Jersey has training requirements and new rules in place regarding how police should respond to an altercation.
Ferrante says what he cannot explain is why the two teens were treated differently. He says the only possible reason would be if officers knew that one of the teens had a weapon when they responded. But he says that is unlikely given how quickly they arrived on the scene.
The former chief also questioned why the female officer ever walked over to the Black teen, leaving the lighter-skinned boy alone.
“On the surface, it’s terrible policing because of the danger she puts her and the other officer in. What if the other person who was on top of the [Black teen] had a weapon? They are getting hurt,” Ferrante says.
As for if the incident was biased – Ferrante says that it looks like it, but also emphasizes that a thorough investigation, including looking at the responding officers’ history and body camera video, will help determine that.
“If was dangerous policing, what the female officer does. Is it biased? A video won’t automatically state it. It appears it is. Her record will show if she had any other bias complaints against her,” Ferrante says.
He raises issues with the female officer placing her knee on the teen’s shoulder. He says it is an outdated tactic that was unnecessary in this case. He says that it is dangerous because it is too close to the neck.
He also says that both officers should be taken off the street until the investigation is complete.


More from News 12