NEWARK — Following a controversial police encounter in Newark Tuesday, the department still had regular traffic blocked off Thursday evening.
It’s a strong presence that Robert Tyson says originated on Cypress Street involving his two sons, and a large team of both plainclothes and uniformed police officers.
A cellphone video picks up after plainclothes officers aggressively approached his son, he says.
“They approached my stepson the wrong way,” said Tyson.
Moments later, Tyson says, his other son ran outside to help his brother, unaware the men in plainclothes were actually cops.
Again, this is alleged before the cell phone video started to record.
“They tried to say the police was jumped by a mob,” Tyson claimed. “The police wasn’t jumped by a mob.”
Tyson is referring to Newark Fraternal Order of Police President James Stewart’s characterization of the encounter in a local news article, in which Stewart describes officers being pummeled to the ground, kicked in the head, and choked.
That is not what we see on the video, and we don’t see any signs of injured officers recovering from a mob beating.
But almost 90 seconds into the clip, we do see at least three officers surrounding and handcuffing Branden Rodwell as they forcibly bring him down headfirst, into the sidewalk.
“The police handled the situation wrong and my stepson handled it a little bit wrong,” Tyson claims.
Robert’s wife, Monique, has a different take.
“They picked him up and bow — right on his face! Really hard! And I’m like what the heck? They told me one story but then when I see the video, it’s a whole different story from what the police told me,” she said.
Newark Mayor Ras Baraka released a lengthy, blistering statement Thursday, condemning FOP President James Stewarts comments.
“The false narrative put forth feeds the old and archaic thinking that police are an occupying force, always in danger from a hostile community, rather than goodwill guardians of a community that has a growing respect and cooperation with one another,” Baraka said.
Police did not find a gun at the scene.
Correction: This report initially misreported a person’s name. It has since been corrected.