The family of the New Jersey eighth-grader slammed and handcuffed by white officers–while the white kid he fought was left alone–has called in civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump to represent them.
Crump hasn’t said yet whether Z’Kye Husain’s family plans to sue the Bridgewater Police Department in response but both Z’Kye Husain and his mother, Ebone Husain, have told reporters they want the officers involved fired. The incident went viral via social media after video taken by bystanders shows Z’Kye punching and tussling with an unidentified teen—who appeared white—after that kid puts his finger in Z’Kye’s face and shoves him.
Two officers, who also appear to be white, quickly show up. While one calmly escorts the white teen to sit on a nearby bench, Z’Kye is wrestled to the ground by the other officer, who sits on his back while placing him in handcuffs.
In a statement, Crump says the fight started as a result of bullying by the other teen, who is an 11th grader, but that the officers immediately assumed the worst because Z’Kye is Black.
Crump has been almost ubiquitous in high-profile cases involving police violence and misconduct against Black people. His firm’s website lists settlements of $27 million for the family of George Floyd, $11 million for the family of Breonna Taylor and $10 million for the family of Andre Hill, all of whom he represented in cases against municipalities where police were responsible for the deaths of African-Americans.
Fortunately, Z’Kye didn’t perish in this incident, which took place in Bridgewater Township, N.J., a town of about 46,000 people, just 2.5% of which are Black. Crump maintains it could have been worse.
“We are so thankful that Z’Kye made it out of this incident with his life,” he said in a statement. “It is no secret that dealing with police in America is more dangerous for Black men–and teenagers–than it is for white men.”