New Jersey officers placed on leave after caught on video pinning teen, punching him in the head during arrest

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Monday, May 20, 2019
NJ officers placed on leave after teen pinned, punched on video
Anthony Johnson reports on the violent arrest of a New Jersey teen. (warning - some of the video may be disturbing.)

DOVER, New Jersey (WABC) -- The New Jersey officers caught on video pinning a teenager to the ground and punching him during a violent arrest have been placed on administrative leave.

The video shows one officer punch Cyprian Luke, 19, repeatedly in the face while he was restrained and another officer had his hand around Luke's throat.

Luke is now in custody and in a lot of pain. His family and friends are furious with how police arrested him, and are claiming police brutality.

Officers can be heard ordering the teen to turn over, while another officer was on top of the suspect. Others were also holding him down, making it impossible for him to turn over.

"I know that there was multiple blows, there was multiple macings, after that they was dragging me to the ambulance, because I couldn't walk," said Luke.

It happened 2 a.m. Sunday -- Eyewitness News is told Luke and his friend were on their way to get a tattoo in Dover. They were right in front of the police station when Luke was confronted. Police say they had a warrant for his arrest after he failed to show up at court for a domestic violence case.

"They didn't tell him they had a warrant for his arrest. They just tackled him to the ground. They pepper sprayed him. He wasn't resisting at all. He was trying to cover his face, because they kept punching him," said the suspect's younger brother, Christopher Luke.

On Sunday night, dozens came out to protest the police, including the friend who took the video.

"Mr. Luke resisted police efforts to take him into custody, there is no reason for me to believe at this time that race played any role in the incident," Mayor James Dodd said Monday. "I understand we live in an age of social media where there is a tendency to rush to judgment, however, given the independent investigation now ongoing, I urge everyone to show restraint until all the facts come out and the independent investigation is completed."

Luke's mother says the situation is "devastating."

"I am a mess. I cannot believe. My son could've been killed over that turning blue situation. It's not right," she said.

Mayor Dodd said he will not let this incident blemish the reputation of the entire Dover Police Department.

"Rest assured, as mayor of this great town, I will not stand for nor will I tolerate abuse of any kind from any officer toward a member of the public and if this investigation sustains as showing, swift action will be taken," Dodd said.

Luke faced a judge Monday on the domestic violence case. Police reports say he was accused of violence by a woman who said he punched her, kicked her, shoved her and choked her. It's not clear if the cops knew the details of the previous incident during Luke's arrest on Sunday morning.

The Morris County Prosecutor is now investigating the case under the supervision of the New Jersey State Attorney General office.


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