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Some New Jersey police officers are under investigation after a video showed them taking at least one teenager into custody after claiming a group of teens had violated local rules about bicycle licenses.
The Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office said it was reviewing the incident, which happened this week in Perth Amboy, the Patch news site in Woodbridge reported.
At least two videos related to the incident were posted online: a nearly one-minute-long clip that showed a group of Perth Amboy officers handcuffing a teen and ordering others off their bikes, and a shorter clip that shows teens later leaving police headquarters after having the bikes returned to them, The Associated Press reported.
In the shorter clip, a Perth Amboy police officer claims the teens were stopped because they were riding in the street against the flow of traffic.
“You think I want to be here taking bikes away? This is so asinine,” the officer says. “The whole point of this is, I don’t want to call parents and say … their kid got hit by a car.”
The longer clip shows about 10 police officers stopping a group of about three teens.
“Get their names and take their bikes,” one officer is heard ordering another officer.
One teen explains that they live in Edison, about 10 miles away.
The teen shooting the video notes that six police vehicles responded to the incident.
“Y’all see this, man? Over some bikes,” a voice is heard saying on the video.
One officer tells the teens they were “supposed to have licenses,” for the bikes, while another warns a teen, “Get off the bike or you’re gonna get arrested.”
The longer original video drew reactions that police appeared to be harassing the teens.
“This is Perth Amboy, NJ. Are the police really arresting kids over bike registrations?” Amol Sinha, executive director of the New Jersey chapter of the ACLU, commented on Twitter. “Does it really require this many officers to address whatever situation this is? Police CANNOT continue to be our response to EVERYTHING.”
Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone’s office said in a statement that Sinha’s tweet had helped prompt her decision to review the matter, Patch reported.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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