A YouTube clip of a New Jersey police officer punching a woman in the face outside of a nightclub received nearly 10,000 views online.
The 20-second clip was filmed on a cell phone and sparked the Elizabeth Police Department to launch an internal probe, The Star-Ledger
The video, which was uploaded to YouTube on March 3, depicts 10 to 12 people yelling and subsequently scuffling on the street outside of Club Envy in Elizabeth. One of the men in the brawl, wearing a black vest, moves away from the group. The officer follows the man, attempting to grab him. A woman wearing a red dress intervenes, and the cop promptly punches her in the head, causing her to fall to the ground.
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The cop and the woman have not been identified. Kelly Vence, police spokesperson for the Elizabeth Police Department, told the Star-Ledger that the woman who was struck has not spoken to authorities. It is unclear whether the officer was on active duty or suspended.
A man who identified himself as the club’s owner said he didn’t know if the people involved in the melee were at the club over the weekend.
At one point in the video, a bystander chants "WORLD STAR," referring to a website that compiles videos of fights caught on tape, according to the Huffington Post.
A spokesman for Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesea declined to comment on the video, but said officers may use physical force to defend themselves if they feel there is a legitimate threat, according to the state’s guidelines on use of force by police, The Star-Ledger reported.
A similar altercation in occurred involving an unarmed citizen. Last Friday, a Roselle man was shot in the legs by police officers during a scuffle. The incident is under investigation as well.
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Last year, a Philadelphia cop was fired after getting caught on video sucker-punching a woman in the face at a Puerto Rican Day parade, the Gothamist reported.
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