Exclusive: New Jersey honor student says she was manhandled, slammed to ground by police

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Toni Yates has the story of an honors student who says she was roughed up by police.

An honors student from New Jersey says she was roughed by police after they ordered her out of her parked car.

She has bruises and scratches on her forehead and back, and on Tuesday, she filed a complaint against Passaic police.

"They kicked me on the ground with their boots," she said. "Three of them kicked me to the ground."

The 17-year-old student, who's mother insisted keep her identity hidden, was still shaken hours after the incident.

She and two friends were in a car Monday night, eating ice cream and talking in a parking lot near 1 East Monroe Street when she says Passaic police officers pulled up and asked for their IDs. She told them she was 17 and didn't have ID.

"So I just said, 'Can I call my mother,' as they started taking people out of the car," she said.

She was in the back seat and said the situation quickly escalated.

"One of the officers forcefully took me out," she said. "I was calling my mother and I fell in, my bottom side to the ground. He flipped me over, three officers kicked me in my back. My face was on the pavement, and I was saying, 'I can't breathe, I can't breathe.'"

Her mom was on the phone and heard the commotion.

"I heard the profanity, I heard them yank her out," she said. "I was stunned."

The teen said her two friends were slammed to the car and searched, and she was taken away.

"They threw me into the cop car, didn't read my rights, didn't buckle me up," she said.

She said police never told them why they were targeted or why they were allegedly being handled so roughly.

"I felt powerless as a parent," her mother said.

Passaic Police Chief Luis Guzman said that immediately after hearing about the incident, he pulled the police report and had it sent to Internal Affairs for review.

The victim and her mother were also at Internal Affairs Tuesday afternoon.

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police brutalityPassaicPassaic County
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