Use of force under scrutiny for Jersey City cops who broke up ‘large street fight’ yesterday

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The use of force exercised by Jersey City police officers who broke up “a large street fight” yesterday is under scrutiny, with city officials indicating that the matter will be investigated by the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

The incident in question on Bostwick Avenue occurred early yesterday evening and video from the scene, which shows one officer using a nightstick, has gone viral. A longer clip than the one above can be viewed on Hudson TV.

” … The Jersey City Police Department responded to Bostwick Ave. in regards to a large street fight at approximately 5:19 p.m. on Tuesday, May 5, 2020. Four officers on walking posts responded immediately,” said city spokeswoman Kimberly Wallace-Scalcione.

“Upon arrival, they observed a large street fight and riot type atmosphere. They attempted to disperse the crowd but one female refused to comply and refused multiple orders to disperse. When officers attempted to arrest her they were assaulted by several males at the scene. There were 4 officers injured, and one perpetrator injured who subsequently refused medical attention.”

She also indicated that the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office will be investigating the incident and that police body camera footage and CCTVs in the area will be utilized.

Anyone with any information regarding the incident is asked to call the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office or the JCPD Internal Affairs Bureau at 201-547-5472.

An eyewitness who asked not to be identified said that the gathering was an informal remembrance/funeral and said the physical altercation lasted for about 10 minutes after nearly a half hour of verbal arguing escalated.

He added that he wasn’t surprised to see a situation like this escalate in Greenville.

“Honestly I should’ve been shocked but this happens a lot here especially in the Greenville neighborhood, living here your bound to see things like this happen At least once. It was just a local dispute between residents that got out of hand,” the eyewitness said.

Jersey City Police Officers Benevolent Association President Carmine Disbrow did not address the specifics of the incident, but said that law enforcement officers are facing challenges that they never have before during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Coronavirus has brought a new danger to the men and women of the JCPD, yet they continue to do what they need to do to stand between danger and the rest of the community,” he said in a statement.

“Now, more than ever, we are asking residents to stand with us so that we can get through this crisis together.”

Mayor Steven Fulop and Public Safety Director James Shea are set to speak about the incident at length at a noon press conference.