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Social media divided over viral video that shows 2 officers breaking up a mall fight between a white teen and black teen

  A New Jersey police department is under fire after their response to a mall fistfight between two teens. Viral video documenting the incid...

 A New Jersey police department is under fire after their response to a mall fistfight between two teens.

Viral video documenting the incident has social media divided, with some wondering why two officers cuffed a black teen while the other teen, a white male — who, according to the video, appears to have physically instigated the fight — casually watched, even sitting on a nearby couch while viewing the spectacle.

What are the details?

The fight broke out at Bridgewater Commons mall in Bridgewater Township, New Jersey, on Saturday, and video captured the two boys arguing.

The black teen, 14-year-old Z'Kye Husain, said that the fight began when he stood up to the as-yet identified white teen for bullying a younger boy.

"“He was kind of saying, like, ‘You’re a little kid, you’re my little pet,’ and stuff like that,” he told WNBC-TV.

The white teen was seen in the video shouting at Z'Kye, pointing his finger in his face as an increasingly agitated Z'Kye began pushing his hand away.

The white teen appeared to then shove Z'Kye, prompting the two to begin throwing punches at one another.

The white teen then tackled Z'Kye onto the nearby couch as he continued swinging.

Z'Kye, in response, swung at the white teen, striking him several times.

After several moments, two Bridgewater police officers intervened and yanked the two boys apart.

One of the officers pushed the white teen onto the couch and assisted her partner in cuffing the black teen — who was pinned face-down on the ground at that point — while the white teen watched. The male officer was seen holding the teen to the floor with his knee on the teen's mid-back as the female officer assisted, plying her knee on the teen's upper back.

The officers were able to cuff the black teen without any incident, and the teen did not fight back.

The white teen remained on the couch as officers scrambled to detain Z'Kye.

Z'Kye told WNBC that he remained calm because he knew that he'd have no problem following police orders.

"I was, like, calm because I knew not to be scared," he reasoned. "Just stay calm and not move and do what they tell me to do."

In a statement to NBC News, the mall announced that both teens have been banned from the shopping center for three years.

What has been the response?

Z'Kye's mother, Eboné, told the station that she can't fathom why it would take two police officers to restrain and cuff a teenage boy who was not resisting.

“It doesn’t take two cops to hold a 14-year-old boy down who’s not resisting, while the other boy is just kind of going free and still going off on my son. It just doesn’t make sense,” she said. “It’s not fair that we are constantly having to fear the cops. I’m just glad it happened where there were a whole bunch of eyes on the situation, ’cause I don’t know what would have happened.”

In a Monday statement on the incident, a spokesperson for the Bridgewater Police Department said, "We recognize that this video has made members of our community upset and are calling for an internal affairs investigation."

The post in its entirety read:

The Bridgewater Twp Police Department is aware of a video on social media of our officers stopping a fight in progress at the Bridgewater Commons Mall. We recognize that this video has made members of our community upset and are calling for an internal affairs investigation. The officers were able to respond quickly to this incident and stop it from escalating because of a tip we received from the community. We have requested that the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office assist us in this matter and are requesting patience as we strictly adhere to the New Jersey Attorney General’s Internal Affairs Directive. We appreciate the videos that we have already received from community members and ask that anyone who has a video of this incident please email it to The men and women of the Bridgewater Township Police Department are thankful for our community partners and look forward to continuing to build our positive relationships.

What did people say?

The department's Monday post received a plethora of attention, with a lengthy thread debate containing least 2,700 comments.

In response to the post, one angry Facebook user thundered, “The fact that one of your officers turned their back and their gun to someone who was just involved in a fight, allowing that person to STAND and approach the officers and the person they were fighting is justification for termination.”

"Before commenting let the investigation be done," another user reasoned. "Commenting beforehand only shows ones own ignorance. TY Bridgewater PD for making Bridgewater one of the safest towns in the nation!!"

“We want an independent investigation," another user demanded, arguing that both teens ought to have been detained. "If we are going to restrain youth, both should have been restrained. Blackness is not more threatening." One user called for people to wait for the results of the investigation before forming an opinion.

"Thank you for hosting this discussion and undergoing the review," the user wrote. "Your professionalism is key. If mistakes were found to be made, I have no doubt that the force will continue to develop as it had along with Bridgewater these decades."

Another wrote, "Your officers have done immeasurable damage to the students in our community. Their actions have proven that white privilege and racism exist in their community and that black children cannot trust the police to be fair. You should reach out to the school system to attempt to rectify this. Trust of the police must be earned. Actions speak louder than empty words so it won’t be easy. Very disappointed and disgusted with the officers and police department in general."

What else?

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy (D) expressed concern over the video on Tuesday.

"Although an investigation is still gathering the facts about this incident, I’m deeply disturbed by what appears to be racially disparate treatment in this video," he tweeted. "We’re committed to increasing trust between law enforcement and the people they serve.”

Z'Kye has hired civil rights attorney Ben Crump in connection with the detainment.

"Z’Kye, an 8th grader, was noble to defend his friend from bullies; however, it is evident that officers immediately assumed that because of the color of Z’Kye’s skin, him acting nobly was not even in the realm of possibility. That video says it all," Crump said in a statement shared to social media. "Z’Kye was no more of a threat to those officers than the white teen who fought with him. This is another example of the kind of racial bias that we need to root out of our system of policing. These officers need to be reprimanded and retrained to overcome the implicit bias that results in unequal — and often dangerous — treatment of black people."

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