SomCo Commission Director Robinson Wants To Meet With Families Over Bridgewater Mall Incident

Somerset County Commission Director Shanel Robinson said she has contacted the families of the youths involved in the altercation.

Township resident and Somerset County Commission Director Shanel Robinson said February 16 that she plans on meeting with both families of teens involved in an altercation in the Bridgewater Commons Mall that has garnered national attention.

What has caught the attention of Robinson – as well as civil rights activists across the country – is a video showing Bridgewater police breaking up a fight between Black and white youths at the mall.

In the video, police pull the white youth off of the Black youth, then sit the white youth on a couch while the Black youth is dragged face down on the floor and handcuffed while the two white officers kneel on his back.

Someone on the video can be heard saying, “Yo it’s ’cause he’s Black. Racially motivated.”

In a video statement, Robinson said she is “heartbroken by the video that shows an African American teenager being handcuffed by police while the other teenager in the altercation is being treated as the victim.”

“As a mother and grandmother, watching incidents like this over the past few years has been particularly difficult,” Robinson said. “Having this happen in my own community where I raised my family makes it even worse, and my heart goes out to the young people who were involved, and to everyone who has been disturbed by this video.”

Robinson said she spoke with Gov. Phil Murphy and state Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin, and ” we all agree that the video of the incident at the Bridgewater Mall is upsetting and that there must be a full investigation to uncover all the facts and deliver accountability.”

The Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office is handling the internal affairs investigation of the incident, Robinson said.

” I have full confidence in their ability to find the answers and bring them to the public,” she said.

Robinson said she has contacted the families of both of the youths and that she hopes to meet with them “in the coming days.”

“I will also be reaching out to Bridgewater Mayor (Matthew) Moench to discuss how we can work together to restore the trust between law enforcement and the people they serve,” she said. “We as a community are being challenged, but I am convinced that we will rise to the challenge together.“

Here is Robinson’s video:

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