The students had it coming, I’m sure:
wo Rutgers University students have filed a $2 million lawsuit against a New Jersey police department after they were allegedly beaten by officers in their apartment.
Kareem Najjar and Jake Kostman say they were asleep when officers from the New Brunswick Police Department stormed into their apartment in the basement of an off-campus house Dec. 10 and began beating the college students in their beds without any warning and without identifying themselves as police.
“We didn’t know they were cops,” Najjar, a 19-year-old sophomore, told AOL News today in a phone interview. “One was wearing a ski mask, one was wearing a Rutgers hoodie. Another had on a Jack Daniel’s T-shirt and work boots. I honestly thought we were getting robbed.”
The students say the officers — who were apparently serving a warrant for someone else in the house — punched and kicked them multiple times in the face, back and ribs.
Kostman, 20, said Najjar began to bleed from his ear after four officers held him to the ground, one pressing his head into the floor with a boot.
“Kareem is just in a ball on all fours, there are four cops on him and he’s bleeding from the head. At this point you just gotta hope and pray that they are cops,” Kostman told AOL News.
Najjar and Kostman say the officers only identified themselves after handcuffing them, but told the roommates they weren’t under arrest.
Then, the students say, they were forced upstairs in their underwear where they sat on a couch with other housemates near an open door. When they complained that they were cold and asked the officers for permission to put their clothes on or shut the door, Najjar and Kostman said the officers mocked them and even used homophobic and racist slurs.
Kareem sounds like a good terrorist name, though, so I’m sure this was all a misunderstanding.
Benjamin Cisco (mobile)
The tags are perfect, nothing to add except thoughts of rusted farm implements, etc.
December 10th was a Friday. What were these DFHs doing asleep? They’re in college!
My guess is these cops were sent by Jack Daniels. They are gonna go broke if this kind of Friday-night-sleeping thing catches on.
A Commenter at Balloon Juice (formerlyThe Grand Panjandrum)
Isn’t this the appropriate place for 2nd Amendment remedies? Or are those remedies for nice straight white folks afraid of Obama’s secret plan to bring about the new Caliphate?
…is there a city in New Jersey called New Brunswick or something? I’m having trouble figuring out why a bunch of cops from the Canadian maritimes would be across the border in Jersey.
@Peter: Yes, there is a city/town called New Brunswick.
It’s sort of in the middle of the state, sort of eastern side. I’ve passed through it many times on Washington D.C. bound Amtrak.
@Peter: The ski mask was a dead giveaway. Although I think technically, in Canadian, it’s a “toque with face guard.”
They are just getting some practice in for when they have to start raiding union offices and state, county and federal workers offices.
Sounds like Rand Paul’s security thugs have a new gig. Disgusting.
Would it be activist to find them guilty?
If a guy wearing a ski mask breaks into your house and beats you senseless, can he be charged with impersonating a police officer?
Seriously. How is anyone supposed to tell the difference between a warrant and a burglary? (if there even is one, in this age when property seizures are a primary source of funding)
@scarshapedstar: I think we should all remember the recent case where the guy with a 9 iron got shot dead…then told to “drop it”.
And the police were absolved.
ETA, “Horrifying: Utah Man Shot to Death by Police for Raising Golf Club”
If either of these guys had shown the slightest resistance they would’ve been pumped and nobody would’ve done a damn thing about it.
NJ Star Ledger story and local news video here:
I often feel like suburban cops are much worse than their city counterparts. They don’t deal with a lot of real crime, so they end up having to “prove” themselves with shit like this.
My days as a Rutgers student were a while ago, but my memory is that nothing pleased the local cops like a chance to kick the asses of college kids. (The U has its own force, part of the state police. I think the campus police may be larger than the city force.)
Of course. Nothing turns local cops into the Stasi like the possibility that someone might have some drugs lying around.
Can Nick Gillespie please promise to stop babbling about the totalitarian nature of public libraries until the drug war is ended?
This. Also true for cops in college communities.
Commenting at Ballon Juice since 1937
Hey, we’re not like the uncivilized Arab world. Nope, not at all.
New Brunswick is the town in which the main Rutgers University campus is located. Rutgers however, does have it’s own police force. But New Brunswick is very urban, and very old, a combination of students, hospitals and medical personnel, and a very old section of NJ that is pretty close to tenements, many of which are packed with the very poor hispanic population. It has a pretty good population of poor folks in general. The Johnson and Johnson company pretty much runs the town, outside of Rutgers, and has been pushing a lot of modernization (and zoning changes to move out the “elements”) but it’s a rough place to live. And undergrads inevitably move into the neighborhoods in these hundred year old ramshackle rent houses, and are victimized way too often. But it sounds like the NB police are over the edge. Rutgers must be having a fit, and I hope parents and students are making a huge stink over it. I hadn’t heard about it though, and I live in the next borough (which is like in their back yard). Think I’ll give the alumni folks a call and see if we can get something going in that direction.
New Brunswick NJ, a town of 55,000, is located on the banks of the Raritan River, and on the NE Corridor Line. It has been the home of Rutgers College (now Rutgers University) since 1776. It’s also the World Headquarters of J & J. Tens of thousands of Rutgers students live in apartments off-campus.
New Brunswick police has been notorious for treating RU students “less than courteously” for decades. This latest “apartment invasion” is just an example – probably inspired by videos on “Cops.” This just happened again last weekend. This time, it was caught on videotape:
Mike in NC
Gov. Christie will be urged to decorate these selfless heroes.
About 5 years ago I was in my basement in Brooklyn playing Rise of Nations with headphones. I heard nothing at all until a 9MM was put in my face. Of course the NYPD had the decency to wear uniforms and they didn’t beat me or anything; plus they alerted me to the fact that my entire apartment had been ransacked while I was home playing computer games.
I think the gov’t should have to ID themselves.
I’m calling BS on the headline:
There is no ‘alleged’ in the actual beating.
Nobody denies that the police hit these students causing damage.
The alleged part is the illegality or inappropriateness.
@New Yorker: Yup — no doubt. I live in Westchester, NY and once got rousted by some clown local cop for my inspection being expired for 3 days. I was post-call from a nightmarish ER shift at a big urban hospital at the time. I didn’t have my checkbook to write the check on the spot so he had my car towed (2 blocks from my house) and impounded. In the middle of the exchange my beeper went off and he didn’t let me answer it (before cell phones, so I would have had to go to a neighbors’ house to call in). He then drove off leaving me to walk home with a bunch of heavy gear in the snow. I had to formally explain to the head of the ED why I didn’t answer my page (they had a question on a patient I had seen) and go without sleep to rescue my car. I raised high holy hell with the police dept until finally his sergeant came to the house and admitted the guy had used “poor judgement” and they had received prior complaints. My husband pointed out that this guy carried a gun and maybe shouldn’t be a cop if his judgement was so poor.
6 months later “Officer Poor Judgement” responded to a break-in after hours at the local grocery store, apparently escalated the situation and got shot in the head with his own gun. We stabilized him at my ED — but his career was over.
Give me a professional PD any day of the week.
Needs “isolated incidents” tag.
Hope they get the $2 million they’re suing for. That’s the only thing that will get the attention of the local govt.
Funny how teabaggers love to fantasize about government thugs coming to violate thier rights, but anytime it actually does happen, in the form of police officers behaving in this manner, they always take the side of the cops.
Ed in NJ
New Brunswick is far from the suburbs. Off campus in New Brunswick often means very sketchy urban neighborhoods in the city center.
two days later: “don’t look at me like that. ‘zero’ is a quantity.”
1766, actually, but that’s close enough, I guess.
Jeez, maybe I lived there in an anomalous time, but in the mid-70’s the New Brunswick cops were pretty mellow. I remember in particular Fourth of July weekend in ’75 when my roommate, a friend of ours from another school, and I were really, really, stoned and setting off bottle rockets and tossing M80’s imported from North Carolina into the middle of Livingston Ave (a fairly major street in town). A couple of cop cars eventually showed up, we went back into the apartment, and a minute or two later the cops left, I guess figuring we wouldn’t be any more trouble that day. Sounds like these days we’d be lucky to make it out of that encounter alive.
In those days we used to joke that if you saw a NB cop or a University cop while you were walking down the sidewalk smoking a joint they’d be more likely to ask for a hit than to bust you or tell you to put it out.
you cant criticize our cops. Did you forget 9/11?
No tasers? Progress!
@John Cole :
Speaking of the Second Amendment and righties’ fondness for having guns around for self-defense and the like, WHAT WOULD HAVE HAPPENED if a couple of these students had weapons handy under the pillow and reacted in timely fashion to shoot the disguised police officers?
Now I can understand that sometimes, the police have to move in quickly on places that are bona fide infested with dangerously violent thugs, and it’s likely that’s the frame of mind these officers had when they invaded these students’ off-campus apartment, but that’s exactly why niceties like warrants and “probable cause” need to be stringently observed, and the circumstances where cops move in like commandos should be limited to instances where there is bona fide strong certainty that violent criminals with dangerous contraband and weapons await on the other side of the door. Otherwise, you get cowboy-style commando raids like this one staffed by cops who are too much into the thrill of playing tough, power-tripping commando entitled to brutally rough up and intimidate other people.
These students can only be grateful these invading cops weren’t deviously smart and dishonestly cynical enough to “drop” a gun and some drugs on the premises and file charges against the students for threatening an officer with the gun and possession of the drugs. That’s the sort of thing corrupt inner-city police departments have done for years in tough neighborhoods.
But a professional PD would probably demand reasonable wages and wouldn’t be able to make a big chunk of their budget from questionable property seizures. That would mean we’d have to raise taxes on our Galtian overlords, so it’s never going to happen.
That’s why the cops had to administer a preemptive beating. If they had broken into the guys house in the middle of the night and not immediately started beating them, one of them might have had a chance to get his bearings, grab a gun from under his pillow, and shoot them. So the beating was really in self defense. [/wingnut]
@Roger Moore: Actually the wingnut response to this is that the students are making it up to cover up for a night of buttfucking.
Checked the comments on the original story – the very first one I saw actually reminded us to remember 9/11 (as in, don’t get mad at cops, we need their protection). Truly.
Indeed, a major percentage of the comments are from people defending the police, many insisting “that only one side of the story has been heard.”
I’m sure if the cops had a good excuse, we would have heard it by now. Some people (read: authoritarians) will defend the cops no matter what they do, no matter how outrageous.
Suck It Up!
New brunswick is not far from the suburbs. Its a town that wants to be urban but its not quite there yet. It has so much potential however. The train is right there, J&J, hotel, newly built roadways to ease traffic, a nice park not far from Robert Wood Johnson hospital, park and ride. Lots of potential.
Me too. I was struck by how many people seem to love the police and hate college students, on principle. It’s the 1960s again.
J sub D
Yeah! If only those smug glibertarians over at Reason would talk about the insanity of the War on Liberty and the militarization of police once in a while.
Do you pull your head out your rectum for a breath of fresh air from time to time?
Wile E. Quixote
Reading stories like this one make me wonder how long it will be before home invasion gangs start dressing up in tactical gear and yelling “police” when they commit robberies. Doing so might give them enough time to get in and take control.
And cue the cowards and quislings and bully-worshiping toadies who will rush out of the woodwork like cockroaches to assure us “There’s something missing here — we’re not getting the whole story. Those students must have done something…” in…3…2…1…
@Wile E. Quixote:
You’re three years too late, Coyote:
These New Brunswick officers clearly got their training from Mubarak’s internal security forces.
Let’s remember how we got here – with the blessing of a Supreme Court justice who loves himself some text of the Constitution, except when it might conflict with the rights of cops to break down the wrong door, beat some minorities, and shoot someone’s pet (from 2006 and from 2008).
We need a new test for Supreme Court Justices: are you willing to admit the Fourth Amendment is part of the Constitution? If not, vaffanculo, you fucking cafeteria constitutionalist.
Ole Phat Stu
Were the uniforms brown, with a swastika armband?
1. New Brunswick seems to be a Democrat town (Mayor and majority of council seem to be Dems). It’s a bit unfair to tag the GOP with this one.
2. Median salary for NB PD is a bit over $100,000. The behavior might not be professional but the salary sure is.
Paul in KY
@Don K: Are you white, by any chance?