crimes

Bridgewater, New Jersey cops arrest Z’Kye Husain as Umar Joseph Franco watches inside Bridgewater Commons

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Umar Joseph “Joey” Franco, 15, of Raritan, New Jersey, United States is Hispanic while Z’Kye Husain, 14, of Plainfield, New Jersey is black. A video of the two teenage boys fighting inside a shopping mall has gone viral.

The fight took place on the third floor of Bridgewater Commons in  Bridgewater Township, New Jersey on February 13, 2022. According to Franco, the fight started when he confronted another teen who allegedly planned to jump someone and the latter responded with an aggressive tone.

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While Franco and the other teen were arguing, Husain joined in and allegedly said he could beat up Franco. Before the fight, Franco and Husain did not know each other.

The other teen is a seventh grader and is friends with Husain, who is an eighth grader. Franco was picking on the seventh grader, Husain told ABC 7 Eyewitness News.

“My friend was arguing with the older kid and so I kind of just jumped into a fight and since he’s older, he was on top of me and he’s bigger,” Husain said of Franco and the seventh grader. “I was just confused and mad about it.”

Two Bridgewater Police Department officers arrived to stop the fight, a male and a female. The female officer asked Franco to sit on the couch while the male officer pinned Husain down on the floor and handcuffed the black boy.

Franco insists that it was Husain who provoked him but does not condone what the Bridgewater Police Department officers din. The Raritan teenager told My Central Jersey, “I know what the cops did was wrong so they should have consequences.”

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Husain’s mother Ebone Husain has retained the services of Ben Crump, a civil rights attorney with offices in different parts of U.S. including California, Florida and Washington, D.C. In a “Don Lemon Tonight” interview, she said, “I hate to say this but if it wasn’t for race, then what is it?”

“What made them tackle my son and not the other kid?” Ebone continued. “What made them be so aggressive with my son and not the other kid? Why is the other kid sitting down looking at my son be humiliated and put into cuffs?”

“It just doesn’t make sense,” Ebone added. “It makes me angry.”

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