A New Jersey Transit Police officer was caught on video Saturday night throwing a motionless man to the ground, dragging him, hitting him, and telling him to "get the fuck up."
The exact circumstances that led to the events caught on camera were not clear. But it doesn't appear that the man posed any threat to the unidentified officer. "The unresponsive man was accosted and had his face brutally slammed into the pavement for no other apparent reason that the power trip of the Transit police officer," read the caption of the video, which was originally posted to Facebook, according to NJ.com:
The roughly one-minute video starts with the officer pulling the man up from the ground outside of the Trenton Transit Center, then throwing him back down to the pavement. "Get up, get out," the cop says. "Get up and get out now."
The man stays on the ground, barely moving, for roughly 45 seconds while the officer stands over him. Then, the cop drags him by the sweatshirt across the pavement before dropping him to the ground again and hitting him. "Get the fuck up," the officer says.
New Jersey Transit Police wouldn't identify the officer or the man he dragged, but did say they were looking into the incident. "The matter is currently under investigation with the New Jersey Transit Police Department Internal Affairs," spokesperson Jim Smith told ABC News. The officer involved has been suspended, Smith said.
According to the woman who took the video (who wanted to stay anonymous): "There was no resisting" and the man "wasn't even speaking." The woman told WPVI she stopped filming due to a dead phone battery, though the officer didn't stop dragging. "After my phone died it continued to happen. The berating. Probably another five minutes. Dragging him on the cement and dragging his face on the ground."
It's important to note that this video only captured about a minute of what was clearly a longer encounter. We don't know what happened before the camera started rolling, as the anonymous woman admitted, and we don't know why the man was on the ground in the first place.
However, it seems all too clear that it wasn't necessary for the officer to use such excessive force. The man on the ground wasn't moving, let alone resisting. It's difficult to understand why dragging him across the pavement and hitting him was an appropriate response to a man who was mostly immobile.