Top Somerset County official saddened by incident at Bridgewater mall, says it’s time to come together

A viral video of two Bridgewater police officers responding to a fight between two teens at the Bridgewater Commons Mall has angered and disturbed many people.

News 12 Staff

Feb 18, 2022, 3:35 AM

Updated 857 days ago

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A viral video of two Bridgewater police officers responding to a fight between two teens at the Bridgewater Commons Mall has angered and disturbed many people.
Some civil rights advocacy groups are now saying that the officers displayed clear racial bias. But moving forward, what happens now?
“What we have here in Somerset County is how we respond and how we interact and how we move forward in situations like this,” says Somerset County Commissioner Director Shanel Robinson.
Robinson is the top elected official in the county, and the first Black woman to hold the position. After Saturday's incident at the mall, she made a statement agreeing that the video was upsetting and that an investigation must and will happen. But outside of the Internal Affairs investigation, how does a community move forward after seeing more traumatizing videos of negative interactions with those who are supposed to protect and serve? Robinson says it is time to work together to get some resolve.
“We can get through this together. But it has to be at a place of concern, a place that we want to have resolve and not from an angry place. Because pointing the finger, blame game or confrontation doesn’t resolve anything,” Robinson says.
Some groups are calling for the officers to be suspended. Leadership from the several New Jersey chapters of Black Lives Matter have put out a statement, saying in part, “We are more than enraged at the fact that we must yet again address another Black traumatic experience involving law enforcement in New Jersey.”
News 12 New Jersey spoke with Kason Little, of Black Lives Matter Elizabeth.
“What New Jersey can do right here, right now – what the attorney general can do right here, right now – what the governor’s office can do right here, right now – is depend to order the firing, the immediate termination of these officers,” Little says.
BLM is also asking for the names of the offices to be released to the public and that they are charged with excessive use of force.
But Robinson is hoping the situation can be used as a learning experience.
“Somerset County can be a beacon of hope and a model for how you deal with racial disparities,” she says.
The Somerset County Prosecutor's Office is handling the Internal Affairs investigation.


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