Imagine this. You are asleep in a basement apartment with your roommate. You are both Rutgers students. One of you is white, the other an Arab American, and you are both 19. One of you has a father who was a cop. Police in New Brunswick, NJ have a warrant for a different student living in a different apartment in the same building. You have no police record. You are not identified on the warrant. It’s 4:30 in the morning. Guess what happened next:
Two Rutgers roommates say they were sleeping in the early morning hours of December 10th and had no idea who was barging into the basement room they share in an off-campus house in New Brunswick.
“I got hit in the face; I got hit in the ribs. That’s basically what happened,” said Kareem Najjar, a Rutgers University student.
“I remember basically waking up to being hit, on the side of my face, on my back I got kicked a couple of times and stepped on,” Kostman said.
Pictures show boot marks left on Kostman’s back.
“One person was standing on my back another was standing on my head,” Najjar said.
“It’s really scary, really intimidating when there are people just yelling at your and hitting you, you don’t believe that it’s something that cops would do,” Kostman said.
The roommates say it wasn’t until they were handcuffed that they were told this was a raid by New Brunswick Police who apparently had a warrant for someone else in the house.
Note these kids were not formally arrested or charged with any crime. They were, however forced to sit in the underwear while handcuffed in freezing temperatures. In short they got the s**t beat out of them because the police were looking for other alleged criminals. They weren’t even told they had been assaulted and “detained” by the cops until after they were handcuffed. Their room was trashed by the cops even though the police had no warrant to search their apartment.
For pictures of their injuries and and an interview with the two students and their lawyer who filed a civil rights lawsuit in federal court against the Pew Brunswick PD please go to this link which includes a televised report by WABC-TV in New York. (I have been unable to find a way to embed the video).
These police, much like may other law enforcement officers in our country have decided that the 4th amendment to the Constitution is just a scrap of paper to which they need no longer pay any attention. They feel justified in beating innocent civilians after breaking into their home without probable cause and taking brutal actions like these:
Neither was arrested in the incident, but they contend they were kept in a main room in the building next to the door that police broke down on a day in which temperatures plunged to 11 degrees.
Both men were kept freezing in their underwear for two hours, bleeding and in pain, and their requests for clothes were turned down, according to the lawsuit.
The handcuffs were pressed so tightly around Kostman’s wrists that he suffered a loss of sensation in his thumb that has not gone away, according to the complaint.
As one of the student assaulted by these out of control thug cops said:
“My father was a police officer. I was raised to show respect,” Kostman said in an interview. Referring to his allegations of abusive force, Kostman said, “you hear stories about this. We want police who provide protection, not be bullies.”
Hard to respect cops who act like criminals and don’t even identify themselves when they break into your apartment to beat you up for no reason I can see other other than a desire to beat young helpless kids up.
Imagine, however, if one of these kids had a permit for a gun. Imagine if he had tried to defend himself against what he could reasonably assume were burglars (remember they did not identify themselves as as police and were dressed in plain clothes) intent on causing grievous bodily harm or death to the two students. We’d be talking about two dead Rutgers Sophomores today, and the New Brunswick Police would no doubt be whitewashing the incident to smear the victims.
This is 21st America folks. This can happen to anyone anywhere. Black, white, young, old, etc. These kids were lucky they weren’t killed by police tasers or cracked skulls or internal hemorrhaging caused by the violence inflicted upon them for no justifiable reason. They’re lucky they weren’t arrested for “resisting arrest.” Sure they may be psychologically traumatized (one kid now has returned home to live with his parents because of the fear he has of staying ion his apartment) and they may have permanent nerve or brain injuries, but it could have been much worse.
The tea party makes a big deal about their freedoms being taken away by the Federal Government. Maybe they should start looking a little closer to home, because day after day our constitutional rights are being eroded by overzealous cops and the prosecutors who enable thuggish tactics such as those described here.
James O’Neill, a spokesman for the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, said undisclosed quantities of marijuana, ecstasy and LSD were confiscated at the house. While declining to comment on the lawsuit, which was filed Tuesday in Trenton by New York attorney Bryan Konoski, “we were previously aware of their claim and we are reviewing it,” O’Neill said.
Yeah, I’ll bet they’re looking into this incident, but only for ways to cover their collective ass and get the lawsuit dismissed. Meanwhile these thug cops are still out there looking for their next excuse to terrorize the local citizens and the students of Rutgers.