The Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Workplace is investigating the detainment of a Black teenager in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, for using a bicycle with no 50-cent license tag.
Video clips of the incident, taken by a good friend who was sporting a digicam, went viral on Tuesday within the hours earlier than the Derek Chauvin verdict and struck folks across the nation as yet one more instance of overly aggressive police enforcement in communities of coloration.
The county prosecutor, Yolanda Ciccone, mentioned in a press release that “each juvenile being taken into custody by legislation enforcement in Middlesex County is of the utmost concern” and “what occurred earlier than, throughout and after the incident depicted is underneath evaluation.” And the mayor, Helmin Caba, pledged to “be extra engaged with the bicycling neighborhood to supply security suggestions and the principles of the street.”
That is Perth Amboy, NJ. Are the police actually arresting youngsters over bike registrations? Does it actually require this many officers to handle no matter state of affairs that is? Police CANNOT proceed to be our response to EVERYTHING. https://t.co/fcrPfJNKBI
— Amol Sinha (@AmolSinha) April 20, 2021
No additional info was supplied, and a police spokesman didn’t say whether or not anybody was in the end charged with a criminal offense. However primarily based on info gleaned from an extended model of the video posted on YouTube, that is what we all know.
The video exhibits a gaggle of roughly two dozen younger male bike riders cruising via parks, a waterside promenade, on sidewalks, and on busy roads. They do methods, like wheelies, and experience down steps of a church. Often one of many bikers briefly veers into oncoming visitors on the unsuitable aspect of the double-yellow line. At one level the boys cease to buy a case of water, which they share. Later, they go round a blue balloon on a string whereas using.
Whereas using via Perth Amboy, a largely Latino metropolis that sits simply throughout the Arthur Kill from Staten Island, police start to path the group. When officers demand, via a loudspeaker announcement, that they pull over, various the kids instantly oblige. The primary officer to method them is a volunteer auxiliary officer who seeks to deescalate the state of affairs — he instantly guarantees to not confiscate their bikes, and he tells them he desires them to have the ability to bike this summer time but additionally be protected. He signifies that their violation is biking with no license tag, which is required in Perth Amboy and prices 50 cents.
Simply as this officer lets them depart, one other officer — a sergeant who outranks the auxiliary officer — enters the scene and calls for to take bikes. Tensions rise.
One of many bikers, a Black male who seems to be an older teenager, refuses to surrender his bike. He is handcuffed and brought to police headquarters. It’s unclear if he was charged with a criminal offense. The confiscated bikes had been ultimately returned — which can also be documented within the longer video.
Perth Amboy Metropolis Council President William Petrick mentioned he had not spoken to police concerning the incident however mentioned it was clear from the video that the bikers had been a public security nuisance. “They’re not stopping for pink lights, they’re not stopping for cease indicators, they’re not stopping for pedestrians or shifting automobiles on the road,” he mentioned. “It’s a harmful state of affairs. Once you’re in that large of a gaggle you actually must obey a number of the guidelines simply to be protected for different folks.”
Petrick identified that the sergeant who in the end detained the younger individual is Latina. “In fact on this hyperbolic setting that we’re in proper now, the imagery of a minority younger man getting positioned in handcuffs in a patrol automobile, it would not ship the best picture,” he mentioned.
Council Member Bienvenido “B.J.” Torres had a distinct view. He famous that the state of affairs was initially “deescalated,” and “if it had been to have continued in that path you and I wouldn’t be having this dialog.” Torres mentioned the license legislation is “fairly antiquated,” and he’s now going to hunt to have it modified.
Torres additionally mentioned that with bike tradition resurgent amongst younger folks, he believes they do should be higher educated concerning the risks.