Orange, NJ — A disturbing video of a large cop manhandling two twin sisters outside of a restaurant just after school had let out has provoked protests and the suspension of an Orange police officer.
On Thursday, two sisters were outside of the restaurant when the Orange police officer approached them. While the nature of the stop was unclear, the officer's actions seem entirely apparent. As the sisters talked he grabbed them both by the hair, threw them to the ground, pushed, kneed, and held them down for seemingly no reason.
In a statement released just after midnight Friday, the Orange Police Department and Mayor Dwayne Warren said the officer in the videos, Hanifah Davis, "has been relieved of duty pending the outcome of an investigation." Protests almost immediately ensued as a result of the officer's actions.
Multiple videos captured the violence unfold as Davis slammed one of the sisters into the window and then grabbed the other. While being shoved to the concrete, the sisters do appear to struggle but pose no threat to the officer who is twice their size.
The officer's actions were so outrageous that the Vice Principal from the school nearby—who knew the two students—came over to intervene.
The video was posted to Instagram with the following description about the vice principal's role and how the officer and his fellow cops reacted.
So, the man (the VP) arrested in this video is a family member of mine. This incident occurred shortly after school was let out this afternoon. The vice principal was coordinating traffic when all of the sudden he heard students screaming his name in front of a pizzeria down the street from the high school. He ran over to this scene, an officer throwing down and striking two teenaged twin sisters. Naturally, he told the officers "I'm a vice principal at the high school, these are my students. What's going on here?" to which he was told, "Mind your fucking business and back up, we're not on school grounds." He repeatedly pleaded with the offending officer to stop assaulting these two girls, and tell him what the problem was. At this point the officer pushed him away from the scene and punched him in the face before arresting him, as well as both girls. He was later released without being charged, the girls were released as well but I'm not sure if they ended up receiving any charges.
I can't divulge any further details due to legality but that's all the setup for this video.
According to many on Facebook, the principal was arrested for intervening, however, the mayor released a statement late Thursday confirming that he was only cited.
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"Contrary to rumors on social media, an Orange Board of Education staff member was not arrested; he was issued a ticket and the issuance of that ticket is part of the investigation," the city said in the statement.
According to NJ.com, a spokeswoman for the school district did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday morning.
The Orange Police Department and Essex County Prosecutor's Office are investigating the incident, the statement said. A prosecutor's office spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment, the newspaper reported.
In an attempt to calm the subsequent unrest by local citizens who took to protesting the incident, the mayor released the following statement.
"This matter is being taken seriously by the Orange Police Department and the Warren Administration. All the facts will be shared with the public as soon as they are available. Meanwhile, the OPD and Mayor Dwayne D. Warren ask that citizens withhold judgment and act responsibly until all the facts are known, at which time the Administration will take all appropriate action," the statement read.
Below is one of the many videos of the incident. It was posted with the following description:
Officer Davis, an Orange, NJ police officer first mush me in the chest, then grabbed me by my arm and I yanked away. Then he physically violated my two twin cousins. This ain't even all of of it! They were punched on as if they were grown men. One twin have a black eyes and they other one have a busted knee. When my mom pulled up, she tried to get the officers off of her, he told her that she'd get locked up if she didn't move. He even fought our assistant principal! He did it out of spite! This is the same police officer that pulled us over in a Uber last night, telling the Uber driver his light was broke, when nothing was wrong with the light. I believe he did it because he didn't have a legitimate reason to charge the Uber diver last night, so he took his anger out physically!
Hee is the other video in which the principal is seen stepping in to stop the violence.
In another video, we see what appears to be the girls' braids on the ground after the officer apparently pulled them from their heads.