NJ officers accused of excessive force

July 22, 2009 4:32:25 PM PDT
There was a heated and violent confrontation between residents and police outside an apartment building in New Jersey Tuesday night. Some of fracas was captured on camera. The question now is did police use excessive force? Police in Paterson are investigating the confrontation, in which a pregnant woman was involved and a 15-year-old boy seriously injured when officers threw him to the ground.

The cops were called to the building, located on Carroll Street, but residents say things quickly got out of control.

"If you had seen my baby with all that blood," resident Patricia Brown said. "He does nothing wrong. He's never been arrested."

Her son is Demetrius Bridgers, who has a swollen face and two staples in his head from the altercation. His blood still in the hallway and on the wall where he says Paterson police confronted him.

"They just came over, pushed me against the wall and started beating me and hitting me in the head," he said.

Detective Lieutenant Ron Humphrey says police went to the building at a tenant's request.

"We got a call that there was drug dealing, gambling, drinking outside the building," he said.

But those arrested say they did nothing wrong, but became the targets anyway.

"I threw my hands up," tenant Charlene Bullock said. "I was scared. I tried to just go inside. I was shaking."

"I asked them why?" tenant Da'Rod Carter said. "They pushed us and smashed the groceries."

Many snapped phone videos of the arrests, as well as pictures of bloody shirts and footprints. They also say a woman who is 6 months pregnant was bent over the car and cuffed, charged with interfering and assaulting police.

"We kept telling them, she's pregnant," tenant Jayle Campos said. "But they said, just hit her, and they banged her head on the car."

Police insist that tenants started the problem and that officers were within their rights. They say no one was arrested for committing the crime the officers responded to because they were unable to finish the investigation.

Everyone arrested has filed complaints against police. Lieutenant Humphrey says internal affairs is investigating.

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WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King


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