West Deptford, NJ -- An unsettling video was uploaded to Facebook Saturday, which allegedly shows a West Deptford police officer assaulting a teen for merely exercising his rights.
The incident began after police were called to the scene for a noise violation. The victim, 18-year-old Chris Cuneo, was not responsible for the noise and was attempting to walk away from the scene. However, officers Creedon and Svenson, of the West Deptford police department, were having none of that.
The Free Thought Project spoke to Cuneo and he explained what happened.
It was a party. Everybody started leaving the party and my friend Sebastian told me to stay behind and talk to the police with him. I said, "no problem buddy."
When I open the door, the police walked in they noticed all the open containers and started asking us for ID and our names. I said since we're not being detained I don't have to answer any questions. He said, "you do have to give him your name. Give him your name right now." I said, "why?" He said because it's an obstruction of the investigation.
New Jersey is not one of the 24 states that have a Stop and Identify law. The only reason these officers had a right to ask Cuneo for his name is if they had reasonable suspicion of him committing a crime. Even if police had reasonable suspicion, Cuneo is under no obligation to identify himself to officers.
In the video, police never verbalized their reasonable suspicion. They simply attacked a teenager who did not want to give his name and who had committed no crime. As Cuneo attempted to walk away, one officer held him while another punched him in the face multiple times, according to witnesses.
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As Cuneo explains,
I said well I don't even want to be a part of any of this and then I took two steps towards the door and they bum rushed me. The cop I was talking to got on top of me on the ground and punched me 3 times in the face, knocking me unconscious.
Since Cuneo was knocked unconscious during the attack, he was brought to the Cooper Trauma center. He had to be given stitches on the inside of his mouth and the outside of his face to repair the damage inflicted on him by public servants.
The officers' subsequent reaction to Cuneo's assertion of his rights is nothing short of criminal assault. However, as is the case most of the time, these officers arrested and charged Cuneo with a crime after they assaulted him.
After officer Creedon had bloodied this teen's face, he and officer Svenson arrested Cuneo and charged him with Hindering, Resisting Arrest, and Obstruction.
According to the West Deptford police department, the incident is under investigation.
Cuneo, who tells the Free Thought Project that hopes this incident doesn't ruin his chances of getting into the military, is not some criminal out robbing people late at night. He's a good kid who just happened to cross paths with two of West Deptford's worst.