Black boy arrested in viral brawl at New Jersey mall says he confronted white bully

Black boy arrested in viral brawl at New Jersey mall says he confronted white bully

The mother of a black 14-year-old boy seen in a viral video being grabbed by two police officers at a New Jersey mall after a fight with a passing white teen who was allowed to go free says she wants cops to have their badges removed.

Z’Kai Hussein was captured, pinned and arrested after fighting with an older boy, identified only as Joey, at the Bridgewater Commons Mall on Feb. 13.

Cell phone footage of him being arrested while Joey, who says he is Hispanic, was allowed to leave, sparked outrage after it went viral and sparked an investigation by local prosecutors.

Now Hussein and his mother attacked the cops and demanded to know why a black teenager was arrested.

“I hate to say it, but if it wasn’t for race, then what?” asked Hussein’s mother, Ebone, during an interview with CNN’s Don Lemon. “What made them take care of my son and not another child? What made them be so aggressive with my son and not with another child? Why is another child sitting and watching my son being humiliated and handcuffed? It just doesn’t make sense. It makes me angry.

Ebone, using the services of well-known civil rights lawyer Ben Crump, demanded that the officers be fired.

“I want their badges taken away,” Ebone said, “because if they do it now, I’m sure they’ve done it before, and what will they do in the future?”

In a separate interview with ABC 7 Eyewitness News, Ebone was even more outspoken about the two cops: “Honestly, I wish they were unemployed.

Z'Kai Hussain, his mother Ebone, and their civil rights lawyer Ben Crump appeared on CNN's Don Lemon Tonight on Wednesday to discuss the arrest of a 14-year-old boy at a New Jersey mall, sparking allegations of bias against police

Z’Kai Hussain, his mother Ebone, and their civil rights lawyer Ben Crump appeared on CNN’s Don Lemon Tonight on Wednesday to discuss the arrest of a 14-year-old boy at a New Jersey mall, sparking allegations of bias against police

Hussein, pictured in handcuffs on the floor, was arrested, and the light-skinned boy he fought, pictured standing, was released.

Hussein, pictured in handcuffs on the floor, was arrested, and the light-skinned boy he fought, pictured standing, was released.

Eighth grader Hussain said he only got into the fight to protect his younger friend from Joey, 15, who allegedly bullied him.

Hussain told the media that on Sunday he and a friend were hanging out at a lounge area at a popular shopping mall when Joey started molesting the younger boy.

“He was like saying: “You are a small child, you are my little pet” and the like,” Hussein quoted the older teenager as saying to his friend.

Hussain said he was protecting his friend and soon he and Joey started pushing and punching each other before both fell to the floor, as seen in the viral video. Several children, who were watching the fight, run away, some take out their mobile phones.

A widely shared video shows Hussain and a 15-year-old Hispanic boy named Joey (right) engaging in a verbal altercation at the Bridgewater Commons mall in New Jersey on Sunday.  Hussein said he was protecting a younger friend who was being bullied

A widely shared video shows Hussain and a 15-year-old Hispanic boy named Joey (right) engaging in a verbal altercation at the Bridgewater Commons mall in New Jersey on Sunday. Hussein said he was protecting a younger friend who was being bullied

The argument turned violent when Joey pushed Hussain, leading to a fight.

The argument turned violent when Joey pushed Hussain, leading to a fight.

Teenagers watch and film the boys fighting at the mall on Feb. 13 before police arrive to separate them.

Teenagers watch and film the boys fighting at the mall on Feb. 13 before police arrive to separate them.

When two white police officers from the town of Bridgewater arrive about 12 seconds later to separate them, one of them can be seen in the video pinning Hussein to the ground and handcuffing him. Meanwhile, another officer leads Joey to the couch before helping the second officer.

“They basically knocked me to the ground and the male officer put his knee on my back and started handcuffing me,” Hussein told ABC 7. “Then the female officer put her knee on my upper back and started to help handcuff me. AND [Joey] sat on the couch and watched it all.”

The girl recording the arrest was heard to say, “Hey, it’s because he’s black,” said the girl filming the scene. “For racial reasons.”

When the cops arrive, one pulls Joey out of the way while the other knocks Hussein, a black man, to the ground and arrests him.

When the cops arrive, one pulls Joey out of the way while the other knocks Hussein, a black man, to the ground and arrests him.

Joey said he also offered to arrest him but refused after Hussein was handcuffed and taken away.

Joey said he also offered to arrest him but refused after Hussein was handcuffed and taken away.

Ben Crump, Hussein's attorney, accused the Bridgewater Township Police of covert bias.

Ben Crump, Hussein’s attorney, accused the Bridgewater Township Police of covert bias.

Hussein said of the police’s treatment of another teenager, “I felt that they treated him like he was superior to me and went along with the fact that he knew he was superior to me. Or that he thought he was superior.”

Even Joey, who did not give his last name, said he felt it was unfair how the police handled the situation.

“I knew it wasn’t right and I knew there would be problems when they did it,” Joey told local news station PIX 11. “They didn’t go for me.”

He said he couldn’t understand why he wasn’t arrested too.

“I didn’t understand why,” said the teenager. “I even offered to put on handcuffs.”

Joey’s friend Sienna Freidinger, who filmed the fight on video, said she also thought the police response was one-sided.

“The black child was the only one they tried to capture,” she told the publication.

Crump, representing Hussein and his family, released a statement claiming that Hussein acted honorably when he defended his friend from bullies, but the police were unable to admit this due to their “latent bias”.

He said the responding officers “immediately assumed that Z’Kai’s skin color made his noble behavior even impossible,” Crump stated. “This video speaks for itself.”

Bridgewater police said in a statement: “We acknowledge that this video has upset members of our community and call for an internal investigation.” Officers were able to quickly respond to this incident and prevent it from escalating thanks to a tip we received from the community. We have reached out to the Somerset County Attorney’s Office to assist us in this matter.”

The Somerset County Attorney’s Office confirmed that its internal affairs officer has launched an investigation into the arrest.

In an unrelated press conference Wednesday, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat, said that while the investigation is ongoing, he is “deeply concerned about what appears to be racially disparate in this video.”

Meanwhile, the NAACP accused officers of treating the light-skinned boy as a “victim” while “aggressively” throwing the black boy to the ground and holding his hands.

“This is something that African Americans in New Jersey experience all too often, and the NAACP-NJ State Conference is calling for the immediate removal of these officers from the police force pending an investigation,” said Richard Smith, president of the local NAACP organization.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said he was

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said he was “deeply concerned that the videos appear to be racially disparate.”

The Department released a statement on Twitter, saying in part that it is

The Department released a statement on Twitter, saying in part that it is “thankful to our community partners and [looked] forward to further building our positive relationship’

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