Two Jersey cops have been suspended after a viral video posted on Facebook over the weekend by Habib Beyah showed their inaction while a thug jumped up and down on a patrol car. Authorities say the cops “did nothing” to stop him. NBC New York reports that “as the man jumped on the police vehicle, the officer stayed in his car.” The second officer responded to the call for backup.
The thug jumping on the cruiser has been identified as 18-year-old Altahriq Aulston. He was arrested and charged with criminal mischief.
The Office of Professional Standards launched an investigation into the incident in Newark and found that the officers “did nothing” to subdue Aulston. The officers reportedly should have restrained the suspect as “they are trained to do.”
“These officers instead took no action at all to quell the situation,” officials said in a statement. “This lack of action could have resulted in the suspect injuring himself, as well as other persons or property. They had an opportunity, and an obligation, to help the suspect, who was acting irrationally, and they failed to do so.”
Despite the current climate of police/community relations officials say the officers displayed too much restraint.
Here you clearly have a deranged animal working as a lone wolf. Some may argue that he’s having a mental episode but from the video, the man is coherent enough to tell the first officer to call for backup. The first officer, allegedly on the job for only seven months, is by himself in the hood with a psycho stomping on his car. If he exits the vehicle he is putting himself at more risk to the point where he may be in fear for his life. That primal fear will manifest as 3 shots to the chest. That would in fact dead the situation but open up a political quagmire of scrutiny into his actions. Protests would erupt in the streets while the brass asks for his head on a platter.
No, the first cop did the right thing and played it safe. He did not engage the hoodlum, the vagabond, the thug and he called for assistance. His superior, an officer who has been on the force for 10 years, responded to the request for backup.
Rightfully, the officers stated their restraint or “lack of action” was in fear to becoming the next viral video according to the union president.
James Stewart Jr., president of FOP Lodge 12, acknowledged that the widely shared Facebook video of Altahriq Aulston jumping on the patrol cars on Saturday “looks very bad” and “paints the police department in a bad light.” But after meeting with the officers, he said he understands what they did.
“I think today’s climate had something to do with the way it played out,” Stewart said. “The officers indicated they were aware there was a large group of people. They were aware everyone was filming it. They were aware he was being egged on. Nobody wants to be the next guy caught on videotape doing something wrong.”
As damning as the video appears to be, Stewart says the officers were not suspended solely off the video. The decision to suspend the officers “was made after additional information came to light after the incident.” Stewart however did not elaborate as to what the other information was, citing an ongoing investigation by the department.
In conclusion, there was no demonstration or protest. It was one lonely thug egging police on. Officers did not engage knowing that it would lead to shooting this rabid animal and being the next viral video. They saved themselves and the department additional scrutiny and criticism. They saved the city from descending into the annals of anarchy. These officers should be lauded not punished. When an officer shoots an unarmed man they throw out reviewing and updated policy and procedures. When an officer does not shoot the suspect, they get fired or suspended and scapegoated. You can’t win for losing as a cop.