Union: 'Mob' pummeled, choked, kicked NJ cops trying to make arrest
Police officials said the suspect's brothers arrived at the scene and "physically interfered" with the arrest
By Chris Sheldon
NEWARK, N.J. — A union head said a violent scene played out in Newark Tuesday afternoon when multiple police officers attempting to make an arrest were attacked and injured by a group of alleged assailants.
Two Newark Police officers and a detective from the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office were patrolling the area of Fabyan Place and Cypress Street around 1:30 p.m. in response to recent gun violence in that area, when they approached a group of men on the street and attempted to stop one man who was suspected of gun possession, Newark Public Safety Director Brian O’Hara told NJ Advance Media.
Two brothers of the suspect came to the scene and “physically interfered” with the arrest and the officers called for backup, O’Hara said. Two officers were injured while attempting to make the arrest, officials said.
The officers were taken to University Hospital with minor injuries and were later released, O’Hara said. No other injuries were reported.
James Stewart, president of the Newark Fraternal Order of Police, described the alleged incident in more detail. He said three officers working in Newark were “set upon by a mob of people” while trying to make the arrest.
“Our officers were pummeled to the ground, kicked in the head and choked,” Stewart told NJ Advance Media. “Body worn cameras were forcibly removed and smashed on the ground by the suspects.”
Stewart said all three officers were injured and were hospitalized while the city only confirmed two were hurt. O’Hara also did not comment on how the officers were injured.
“I am especially thankful that the officers involved were very intentional about resolving the incident as peacefully as possible,” O’Hara said. “They were clearly in danger. But because of their exceptional restraint, not one of the suspects involved was injured. The performance of these officers is commendable, especially in today’s climate, where similarly minor incidents have resulted in unpredictable outcomes.”
Branden K. Rodwell, 31, of Newark, and Justin Rodwell, 30, of Irvington, were arrested at the scene, O’Hara said. Jaykil A. Rodwell, 28, and Jasper D. Spivey, 24, both of Newark, were arrested Wednesday after surrendering to police following issuances of arrest warrants for each on “charges related to this incident,” he said.
Branden and Justin Rodwell each face charges of three counts of aggravated assault against a police officer, obstruction of the administration of the law, and resisting arrest, police said. Jaykil Rodwell and Spivey each face charges of three counts of aggravated assault against a police officer, obstruction of the administration of the law and hindering apprehension or prosecution.
It is unclear if a gun was recovered from the scene. Newark police declined to immediately release body camera footage of the incident.
Newark Mayor Ras Baraka’s office did not respond to a request for comment.
A spokeswoman for the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office said the agency led the investigation and was involved in the arrest of the four people that were charged.
Stewart praised the “restraint” of the officers involved and said they were “lucky” to walk away with injuries that allowed them to leave the hospital only a few hours later.
“This mentality that people do not have to abide by the law, this complete lack of respect for law enforcement must end,” Stewart said in a statement to NJ Advance Media. “I look forward to the statement from the Mayor of Newark demanding a full investigation and imploring the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office to devote their full resources to the apprehension and conviction of every single person involved in this attack on these officers.”
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Chris Sheldon may be reached at email@example.com.
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