Investigation Underway After Video Shows Officer Punching Man In The Face

Prosecutors in New Jersey are investigating after a viral video captured a police officer repeatedly punching a Black man in the face as other officers restrained him during an arrest.

The incident took place at around 3 a.m. on Sunday in the 3700 block of Pacific Avenue in Wildwood, the Cape May County Prosecutor's Office said.

The video, which was originally posted on Snapchat, attracted more than 100,000 views after it was shared on Twitter at the weekend.

It shows a number of officers restraining the man on the ground while others form a barrier around them, blocking the view of the scene and preventing onlookers from getting to the man. One officer is seen repeatedly punching the man in the face, while two others hold him down.

This has to stop wildwood cops be wilding out share this

— Jeff (@JeffPilla6) July 12, 2020

Joseph Kirk, who took the video, told CBS Philly that the incident had started inside Romeo's Famous Pizza before it spilled out onto the street outside.

"It was just totally unnecessary of them punching him like that. It's like five cops, one dude," Kirk told the station.

His friend Ryan Wells added: "When I got there, I saw them grab him and throw him to the ground and they kept saying stop resisting, stuff like that. Then he started pounding his face honestly."

In a brief statement on Monday, Cape May County Prosecutor Jeffrey Sutherland said his office was working to determine whether the use of force during the arrest was justified.

The statement also called for any members of the public with video footage or photos of the incident to contact the prosecutor's office. No further details about the incident were provided.

Anyone with information can contact the Professional Standards Unit at the Cape May County Prosecutor's Office at 609-465-1135.

The Wildwood Police Department and Sutherland's office have been contacted for additional comment.

The incident comes after weeks of protests against police brutality and racism across the U.S. sparked by the killing of George Floyd, a Black man, in Minneapolis police custody on May 25.

Floyd died after a white police officer was seen in a widely shared video kneeling on his neck for more than eight minutes while he gasped that he couldn't breathe.

Despite the protests, a number of videos posted on social media have captured police officers detaining suspects with apparent excessive force in recent weeks.

An investigation was launched in Pennsylvania recently after a video captured a police officer kneeling on a man's neck outside a hospital over the weekend.

In the early hours of Tuesday morning, a woman shared a video of a police officer working at a CVS Pharmacy choking a Black man, who said he couldn't breathe, outside the store.

NJ Protest
People hold signs at a Black Lives Matter protest at the Municipal Building on June 06, 2020 in West Orange, New Jersey. Elsa/Getty Images