Supporters of Black teen handcuffed after fight at Bridgewater mall hold rally at municipal building
There are more calls from civil rights activists for two Bridgewater police officers to be fired over their actions surrounding a fight at the Bridgewater Commons Mall earlier this month.
Members of Black Lives Matter and their supporters held a rally at the Bridgewater Municipal Building in support of Z’Kye Husain – a young Black teen who was handcuffed after fighting with another teen. The rally was also held to demand the officers who responded to that fight lose their jobs.
A video of the Feb. 12 fight has gone viral. It shows two Bridgewater officers responding to the altercation between Husain and a lighter-skinned Latino teen. One officer made the lighter-skinned teen sit on a nearby couch, while Husain was thrown to the ground and placed in handcuffs. The officers have been accused of displaying racial bias. Black Lives Matter is calling for the officers to be fired.
“It should have been made the very same day since Kye was unlawfully and brutally arrested and detained,” says Kason Little, of Black Lives Matter Elizabeth.
People from across New Jersey gathered to show their support.
“We’re here to show solidarity. We all need to stand together and say Black lives matter, because it’s the only way we’re going to ever make any progress, is together,” says Aaron Werschulz, of North Plainfield.
“My children would always hang out at that mall when they were younger and to know that this is happening today to our kids, it's just very sad and it needs to stop,” says Kimberly Monroe, of Bridgewater.
The Bridgewater Township Council was scheduled to meet on Thursday, but that meeting was canceled, according to the township website. But it didn't stop supporters from showing up and having their say.
“My father was a police officer in Morris County for many years and so it just saddens me to see the disproportionate treatment that we're seeing among young African Americans and all African Americans,” says Stacy Harris, of West Orange.
Some of Black Lives Matter's other demands include charges being pressed against the two officers for use of excessive force.
There will be another rally and march at the municipal building on Wednesday. The group will be joined by Husain and his attorney Ben Crump.
Neither teen involved in the fight is facing any criminal charges. Both have been banned from the mall for several years.