The Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office has revealed that they were investigating a police precinct in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, after video of their tense interaction with a group of bike-riding teenagers started to circulate online.
A short video of the incident had been posted to TikTok and Twitter hours before police officers reprimanded the boys for not having the proper paperwork to ride their bikes.
“I told you guys you’re supposed to have licenses,” a white officer says. “The sergeant warned you guys about your bikes.”
Officers were then heard threatening to arrest the teens if they didn’t hand over their bikes.
Before the video cut, one Black teen was heard saying, “Bruh…take my sh*t.” Then the recording showed him being arrested and walked over to a police vehicle.
“Y’all see this, man?” ” Says the guy recording. “Over some bikes!” He counts six cop cars on the scene at the end of the video.
Amol Sinha, Executive Director of the ACLU of New Jersey, retweeted the video, which has since been viewed over 5 million times. “This is Perth Amboy, NJ. Are the police really arresting kids over bike registrations?” he wrote. “Does it really require this many officers to address whatever situation this is? Police CANNOT continue to be our response to EVERYTHING.”
However, the teens appear to violate traffic laws; in the video, many of the teenagers are seen crossing a double yellow line into oncoming traffic, prompting others to ridicule their actions in the comments section before being stopped by police.
“There’s a time and place for everything…the middle of the day in the middle of the road is not it,” said one user.
“The kids were riding towards traffic and will blame the driver when they get ran over,” said another.
Cops show up about halfway through the video and tell the party to come to a halt. According to a city ordinance in Perth Amboy, any vehicle operating on a city street, including bicycles, needs licenses and registration to travel.
“Guys, we’re not gonna take your bikes, alright?” he says as he approaches the group. “You guys know that when there’s like 30-40 of you guys, it creates a problem for the people driving their cars…Listen, be careful.”
The problem appears to be settled after a calm conversation, with the unnamed officer walking away and thanking the teenagers. “That’s how you gotta do it out here,” the guy behind the camera says as the audience claps for him.
The altercation heats up again a few moments later as a female cop arrives to seize the bikes. She claims to have previously given a warning to the community. When the male officer hears this, he encourages her party to take the bikes and apprehend one of the teenagers.
“I’m from Edison,” the boy repeatedly says, where they don’t require bicycle tags.