The Morris County Prosecutor’s Office is investigating the Dover arrest of a Morristown teen who can be seen in a video been punched in the face by police while being pressed to the ground in a choke hold.
Cyprian Luke, 19, was arrested early on Sunday outside a Krauszer’s food store, near police headquarters. His friend, Marcus Robinson of Morristown, recorded the scene with his phone and shared it on social media.
Dover police can be heard ordering Luke to stop resisting arrest and comply with their demands to roll over onto his stomach and place his hands behind his back. He struggled for some time before being handcuffed.
The youths had gone to Dover to get tatoos, Robinson told the Daily Record. Police reportedly were arresting Luke on a domestic violence warrant. He was taken to the Morris County Jail, and is scheduled to appear in Superior Court today, Monday.
Dover arrest of Cyprian Luke, May 19, 2019. Video by Marcus Robinson. CAUTION: Video may be disturbing to some viewers:
Activists demonstrated outside Dover police headquarters on Sunday night, accusing police of brutality.
“The Morris County Prosecutor’s Office notified the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General of this matter and is conducting the investigation under the supervision of the OAG. No further information can be released at this time,” said Peter DiGennaro, a spokesman for Prosecutor Fredric Knapp.
“My face is messed up. My head hurts. I’ve been crying all day. I’ve been depressed,” Luke told WABC-TV.
Dover’s public safety director, Daniel DeGroot, could not be reached for comment Monday morning.
In a statement, Dover Alderwoman Carolyn Blackman urged calm, and said she will press the governing body to equip town police with body cameras.
“I praise the professionalism of our dedicated and hardworking police officers as they deal with challenging situations every day. However, Dover is not immune to the potential for the use of excessive force,” Blackman said.
“Brutality by law enforcement against the very people they are duty-bound to protect and serve is unacceptable and must be eradicated wherever and whenever it occurs in our great nation.”
“When videos such as these surface, emotions can run high, especially in the African-American and Latino communities, as we have had to endure more than our fair share of mistreatment on every level. However, at this time, I ask for restraint and look forward to an appropriate independent authority to conduct a swift, full, and fair investigation into this tragic incident,” the alderwoman said.