Three men have been arrested and charged in connection with a disturbing video that shows a young man stripped naked and whipped in broad daylight on the streets of New Jersey.
The two-and-a-half-minute long footage, which makes for uncomfortable viewing, gained national attention and garnered more than 40,000 hits on YouTube before it was removed from the site.
It shows the perpetrators forcing their victim to take his clothes off in a Newark alley, then continuing to degrade him by coercing him to say “Dog eat dog world,” squirting his body with water and beating the youngster with a belt.
The victim had reportedly been targeted because his father owed the attackers $20 bucks.
In an impassioned speech at a media conference Wednesday, Newark mayor Cory Booker said, “All of the people who were responsible for this heinous, vicious, cruel crime were apprehended.”
Newark’s police director Samuel DeMaio said Ahmad Holt, 22, who has recently been released from prison, was charged with aggravated assault, conspiracy and robbery in connection with the horrific video. The alleged cameraman, Jamaar Grey, 23, and another man named Raheem Clark, 31, have also been charged in the crime.
The victim, now 21, “reluctantly” cooperated with police, DiMaio said. He has since moved out of the neighborhood where the beating took place out of fear of retaliation. He sustained injuries during the August attack but was not treated in hospital.
“I want to express gratitude again to the work of the Newark Police Department,” Booker added. “I want to again thank the hundreds, if not thousands of individuals, who reached out to me, who reached out to the city, who called 911 and let us know what was going on, or what went on, in mid-August.”
“This is not who we are,” said Booker, who then criticized those who may have witnessed the attack but failed to report it. “We do not tolerate this level of cruelty, of callous disregard for the dignity of humanity. We do not tolerate this level of evil in our community.”
Shaka Senghor an anti-gun violence advocate who works with high-risk youth in Detroit, said in many ways the footage is a microcosm of the dysfunction and culture of senseless violence.
“The video is a deplorable depiction of inner city violence,” said Senghor. “It’s degrading and humiliating and it is incidents like this that trigger someone to pick up a gun to defend themselves or seek retribution. It reminds me of how vulnerable our young men and women are in our community.”
The video went viral after it was posted to YouTube and WorldStarHipHop.com last week, but it has since been removed from both web sites. Police do not know who uploaded the video.
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