by Arun Venugopal
February 21, 2022
A viral video of two teens fighting at a New Jersey mall – and the stark difference in how responding police officers treated the pair – is prompting harsh criticism from politicians and activists who say it is fresh evidence of Garden State law enforcement’s inequitable treatment of Black people.
… For professor Jeffrey Butts of John Jay College of Criminal Justice, who has spent years studying juvenile justice, the video is clear evidence of the disparate treatment accorded young Black people by police, long a concern of activists and policymakers across New Jersey. The urgency was driven home by an award-winning NJ.com investigation three years ago that found a Black person was more than three times more likely to face police force than someone who is white. “There’s a term that people use in crime and justice called implicit bias,” Butts said. “This was an example of explicit bias, where you could actually see it on video, how they just descended upon the youth of color and told the [other] youth to sit down or basically back off and did not accost him or confront him physically. Pretty obvious.”