The New Jersey father of a 16-year-old boy who claims he was “savagely” beaten by a Carteret police officer posted shocking photos of the teen’s injuries to Facebook prompting an investigation by prosecutors into the officer’s conduct.
“I never been so heart broken in my life looking at my son face… this is how Carteret Police are treating ou[r] kids.. they beat my son… badly,” Monte Stewart said in his post.
Pictures of Stewart’s battered son, who is also named Monte, show him in a hospital bed with severely swollen eyes, bloody lips and his neck in a brace. The post has been shared over 3,000 times.
Stewart and other families told NJ.com his son was punched, kicked and bloodied by police officer Joseph Reiman after a May 31 car crash.
The teen told the outlet he was startled when Reiman turned on his emergency lights in an attempt to pull him over and that he lost control of his car and crashed.
Police claim the teen tried to run away after the crash but the teen contests the police version of events. He said he got out of the car and stood still with his hands up, surrendering to police.
He said Reiman then grabbed his left arm and punched him in the right eye, knelt on top of him and punched him more than a dozen times, leaving his face swollen and bloodied, the outlet reported.
The teen said a second officer kicked him in the face while Reiman was handcuffing him, while he was screaming “Please help!” and “Stop hitting me!”
A witness at the scene corroborated the teen’s story and said the punching was “excessive.”
“I thought he was going to beat him to death,” Richard Watkins told the outlet.
Photos of the teens face tells the story
Family members identified the officer involved as Joseph Reiman, the brother of Cateret Mayor Daniel Reiman.
The incident allegedly happened after the boy led police on a “brief chase,” before crashing his car.
An EMT report from the Carteret Fire Department, says the teen told responders he was the “unrestrained driver” of the single car involved in the crash into a telephone poll, and that he fled from the scene.
The report also says the teen described fighting with officers on the scene, with medical records saying the same.
The teen on the other hand said officer Reiman was following his far, and when the officer turned on the lights, he panicked and hit the gas, leading to a crash. He conceded he was not wearing a seatbelt, but said he was not injured in the crash.
Battered: Monte Stewart Jr in ICU after the post-crash beating
Monte Stewart and his son Monte Jr address the incident
The family’s attorney, Hassen Abdellah said the teen’s injuries could not have been caused by an air bag.
“The whole thing about air bags doesn’t make sense. That defies logic,” he said.
The 16-year-old has said that he got out of the car, hands up his air, but the officer punched him, knocking him on the ground, and continued to punch and kick him once he’d fallen.
He also alleged another officer kicked him in the face, and a third officer eventually put him in a car to and read him his rights.
“Clearly you can look at the kid and see he was beaten pretty bad,” his attorney, Abdellah said.
In one Facebook post, a person who appears to be the teen’s father says he has “never been so heart broken in my life looking at my son face.”
All eyes will be on Mayor Reima and how he handles the case of police brutality involving his brother
Mayor Reiman confirmed the mayor said the prosecutor’s office was leading the investigation to avoid an appearance of a conflict of interest. He also said in a statement that officers are “made a scapegoat and presumed guilty before any independent investigation is started or completed.”
He urged the county prosecutor’s office to release a full accounting of the incident, including police reports, statements and any audio and video recordings.
“Comments and innuendos on social media are not facts and the borough awaits the results of this review by the prosecutor’s office,” he said.