Newark, NJ – Two New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) police officers have been placed on administrative leave following the arrest of a 15-year-old boy who tried to flee from them on a bicycle (video below).
The off-campus incident occurred near the intersection of Bleecher Street and University Avenue on the afternoon of Aug. 26, WABC reported.
The officers were pursuing a 15-year-old boy as he tried to flee on his bike, but the circumstances preceding the chase are unclear.
A witness claimed that the NJIT officers attempted to “tap” the teen’s bike with their patrol vehicle, but that he managed to accelerate faster than the car and rode up onto a sidewalk, WABC reported.
The officers ultimately tackled the teen on a grassy hillside and pinned him to the ground, cell phone footage showed.
“We were attempting to make a bike stop,” one of the officers said over the radio as he held the suspect down. “Party took off on us. We have him in custody.”
The teen squirmed and said something unintelligible, and one officer ordered him to shut his mouth, the video showed.
The cell phone footage was later shared on social media.
“Justice needs to come for this young 15 yr old boy who was clearly frightened and harassed by NJIT police,” one Twitter user wrote. “This is ridiculous and IT NEEDS TO STOP.”
Rutgers University-Newark student Jeremiah Richardson, who was moving into the dorms across the street, complained that the officers’ actions made everyone on campus “feel unsafe,” WABC reported.
“We shouldn’t have to feel like that,” he added.
The NJIT later released a statement calling the arrest “troubling.”
“NJIT has launched an investigation that will include the involvement of an independent law enforcement agency,” the statement continued. “While that investigation proceeds expeditiously, we are conducting a review of pursuit procedures and training and have placed both involved officers on administrative leave.”
The NJIT stressed that it’s partnership with the city and the community is “critically important.”
“We will investigate this matter thoroughly and take all appropriate actions as soon as the investigation is complete,” the statement concluded.
You can watch cell phone footage showing a portion of the teen’s arrest in the video below: