A viral video of a deaf man in Paterson who was arrested on Friday has caught the attention of the city’s mayor.
Andre Sayegh said the incident of a Paterson police officer making an arrest on Godwin Avenue has been referred to the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office.
The deaf man in the video, identified by law enforcement sources as Raaseon Adams, appears to be sprayed with mace and elbowed by a cop.
“I have also been in touch with numerous community leaders to assure them that an independent agency is investigating the matter,” Sayegh said in a statement. He was to hold a private meeting with community leaders about the incident Monday afternoon.
Paterson Police Chief Troy Oswald said Monday that the officer exercised “great restraint” in the incident.
“They will investigate it,” Oswald said. “If there was any wrongdoing, they will address it.”
Adams remained in the Passaic County Jail, according to jail records.
On Friday, the officers were on Godwin Avenue making a motor vehicle stop that resulted in a drug arrest, law enforcement sources said. Adams was not in the vehicle, but he was in the area and approached the officers during the bust.
Adams ended up being charged with resisting arrest, law enforcement sources said. Public records show Adams has prior convictions for drug crimes.
The video begins with an officer saying to Adams, “Can I help you?”
Several people are heard shouting to the officers that Adams is deaf. An officer also acknowledges Adams is deaf.
An unidentified woman is seen on the video attempting to lure Adams away from police.
“Come on, you bugging,” the woman tells Adams.
Moments later, an officer is seen in the video pushing Adams away from him.
“Yo, get away from me,” the officer says. “Keep walking.”
Adams can be heard moaning and is behind a car.
Later, three officers are seen swarming Adams, saying, “You’re under arrest.”
One officer is seen trying to handcuff Adams. He appears to be resisting and is soon brought to the pavement by cops.
“Just relax,” a woman says. “Don’t mace him. He going to relax.”
Later in the video, an officer sprays what appears to be mace in Adams’ eyes.
“You maced him. You ain’t got to mace him,” a man is heard in the video. “Why is he macing him?”
Seconds later, an officer is seen elbowing Adams in the back of the head.
People surrounding the cops and Adams are heard screaming at the officers. A glass object is shattered near the officers.
The video has sparked outrage.
“Just having it sent to the Prosecutor’s Office doesn’t mean justice,” said Zellie Thomas, who also goes by Zellie Imani. Thomas has organized community activities within the city of Paterson. “People need to be trained with those who can’t communicate verbally.”
Authorities have not released the names of the officers who participated in the arrest. They remain on duty, pending the outcome of the investigation, officials said.