Booker Incensed By On-Camera Belt Whipping, Faults Community For Inaction
NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Authorities in Newark spoke at a news conference Wednesday and discussed the investigation into a video that showed the whipping of a naked man, allegedly because of his father’s debt.
A furious Mayor Cory Booker said “this is not who we are” in reference to the video. Booker called the incident “disturbing and disgusting,” adding that it pointed to the “subculture of violence we have to address.”
“Degradation in a way and a form that is shocking,” said Booker. “We do not tolerate this viciousness.”
The victim, police said, kept his mouth shut out for a long time out of fear of reprisal.
“He was reluctantly cooperative, Newark Police Director Samuel DeMaio said. “Obviously, as the mayor indicated, he didn’t report it out of fear of these individuals that did this to him.”
But that didn’t stop Booker from placing blame on the community for staying silent while the victim suffered and cowered in fear.
“These characters were well-known in the community. I understand what their reputations were, but it is still not an excuse to remain silent,” Booker said.
At one point, Booker even slammed his fist down on the microphone, insisting “this level of evil cannot be tolerated. We are a community of love,” CBS 2’s Christine Sloan reported.
The video shows the 21-year-old being forced to strip naked before he was verbally abused, splashed with water and whipped with a belt, allegedly because his father owed someone $20.
Residents on Irvine Turner Boulevard, where the incident took place, told 1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg the victim was fortunate because he could have been shot.
“Dude got exactly what he deserved. It’s really no big deal,” one man said.
“It’s disturbing. I really don’t come outside so … there’s a lot of things going on around here,” another resident told CBS 2’s Sloan.
Three known gang members are now under arrest, Sandberg reported. They were identified as 22-year-old Ahmad Holt, 31-year-old Raheem Clark and 23-year-old Jamaar Gray.
Authorities said Holt beat the victim with a belt provided by Clark. Charges against the trio include robbery and aggravated assault.
The victim suffered welts and abrasions during the attack that happened last August. He did not however require hospitalization, according to Newark authorities.
It’s not clear when the video, which was posted on YouTube, was made.
The video was viewed about 40,000 times before YouTube removed it, citing its policy on “shocking and disgusting” content.
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