Star athlete says undercover police roughed him up, dislocated shoulder

ByDarla Miles and Eyewitness News via WABC logo
Thursday, February 4, 2016
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Darla Miles has the exclusive story of a star athlete who says undercover police in Newark roughed him up and dislocated his shoulder.

NEWARK, New Jersey (WABC) -- A 14-year-old star athlete said undercover police officers in Newark roughed him up while he was walking down the street, dislocating his shoulder - and the incident was captured on camera.

Jamod Watkins said he walked down to a bodega two blocks from his home. On his way home, near the intersection of 14th Street and 14th Avenue, he said several unmarked cars with flashing lights approached him.

The scared eighth grader started running.

"I didn't know what to do. That's why I ran," said Watkins, who stands 5-feet, 11 inches tall and plays basketball and baseball for his school.

He said at least a half-dozen officers were there, and they caught up to him.

"They slammed me on the ground, pulled my arm back. My arm popped," said Watkins. "Then they picked me up, threw me in the car and had me in handcuffs."

He said they started talking to him.

"They was like, 'you're a gang banger. Oh, You go to West Side.' I'm like 'no, I go to South 16th Street School. I'm only in the eighth grade,'" said Watkins.

Part of the incident can be seen in surveillance video, which was exclusively obtained by Eyewitness News. It shows two black SUVs and one Crown Victoria car with flashing lights pull up beside the teen.

Watkins said the officers never identified themselves and never showed badgees -- and after they put him in handcuffs, they dislocated his shoulder.

When he said he asked for medical attention, Watkins said the officers left him in the middle of the street.

He said he walked home, crying in pain.

Watkins' mother reported the incident to the nearby 4th precinct of the Newark Police Department. From there, EMTs were called, and Watkins' mother said they quickly noticed her son's dislocated shoulder and took him to the hospital.

The Newark Police Department confirms its officers were involved, and the Essex County Prosecutor is taking over investigation from Internal Affairs because it involves the use of force.

Watkins, in the meantime, is expected to be sidelined for months.