Other Teen in Mall Fight Says Cops Were Racist

'I don’t understand why they arrested him and not me,' he says of Black teen
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 21, 2022 2:38 PM CST

(Newser) – One of two teenagers involved in a fight at a New Jersey mall earlier this month says he isn't white—but he agrees that it was racist for police to give him better treatment than the Black teenager he traded blows with. Video from the Bridgewater Commons Mall shows police kneeling on and handcuffing 14-year-old Kye while Joseph, 15, whose parents are Colombian and Pakistani, was allowed to remain sitting on a couch. "I don’t understand why they arrested him and not me," Joseph told NJ Advance Media Friday. "I say that was just plain old racist. I don’t condone that at all. Like I said, I even offered to get arrested."

"I even offered to get handcuffed, I offered to get detained after Kye was detained, and they turned my offer down. I even asked they why they detained Kye and not me, and they said because Kye was resisting," Joseph said. According to Joseph—who was on top of Kye when police intervened—he went to the mall to warn another boy that a group of teens planned to attack him and ended up fighting Kye after confronting a seventh grader he believed planned to instigate the fight. Joseph denies being a bully and says he has been receiving threatening messages calling him a "racist white teen."

NJ Gov. Phil Murphy said last week that he was "deeply disturbed by what appears to be racially disparate treatment." Police say an internal affairs investigation is underway, the AP reports. The Somerset County prosecutor's office is also looking into the incident. On Saturday, a week after the fight, protesters gathered outside Bridgewater police headquarters demanding justice for Kye, reports CBS New York. The teenager's relatives, who are being represented by civil rights attorney Ben Crump, say the officers involved should be fired. (Read more New Jersey stories.)

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