State Watch

Family of Black teen arrested in New Jersey mall hires Benjamin Crump

The family of the Black teen who was arrested in a New Jersey mall during a fight with another teen last weekend has hired national civil rights lawyer Benjamin Crump.

Crump announced the news in a statement released on Thursday.

Z’Kye Husain appeared Friday on CNN with Crump and his mother, Ebone Husain, to discuss the viral video showing police officers in Bridgewater, N.J., responding to a fight at a mall and arresting Husain, who is Black, but not arresting the other participant in the fight, who was Latino.

Z’Kye, who is in eighth grade, told CNN’s John Berman he got into the fight with an 11th grader to defend a friend of his. During the arrest, Z’Kye said he felt “inferior” and “less important.”

“I was mad that they treated me differently,” he said.

In the video, a white male officer tackles the Black teen to the ground and handcuffs him, while a white female officer sits the Latino teen down as her partner makes the arrest. The female officer then walks away from the Latino teen, who is not cuffed, and assists with detaining the Black teen.

“I keep trying to wrap my mind around it, and no possible scenario makes sense to me,” Ebone Husain told CNN’s Don Lemon Thursday. “If it wasn’t for racism, what is it? What made them tackle my son?”

On Wednesday, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) said he was deeply disturbed by the incident. The Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office has opened an investigation into the incident.

The Hill has reached out to the prosecutor’s office and the Bridgewater Police Department for comment.

Crump, who has worked with the families of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery, said the incident shows “there are two justice systems in America.”

“One for Black America and one for white America,” he said. “The reason I think this video is so viral is because now we see it. People have been saying forever that police treat us differently, and we have to do something about this.”

Tags Ben Crump Bridgewater Don Lemon Mall fight New Jersey New Jersey mall fight Phil Murphy police misconduct Viral video
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