Abusive Arrest Of Deaf Man In New Jersey Prompts Investigation

On Friday, 42-year-old Rasseon Adams, a deaf man living in Paterson, New Jersey, was arrested by police. Unfortunately, in the process, he was also maced and punched by officers while being wrestled to the ground and cuffed, as can be seen in a video taken by a witness at the scene. That video has since gone viral, sparking outrage and a swift reaction.

As per ABC 7 New York, prosecutors in the state of New Jersey have launched an investigation into the incident while the public questions the level of force used against Adams.

“What I saw was very disturbing,” attorney Aymen Aboushi said. “I saw unprofessional conduct from an officer that was unprepared to deal with someone who has an obvious handicap.”

Paterson Police Director Jerry Speziale has quickly responded to the call for action, issuing a statement regarding the officers in question.

“This matter has been sent to the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office for review. The officers are on full duty.”

The incident, which took place during the afternoon on Godwin street, was instigated by Adams, insist the police officers. A man suspected of illegal drug activity was stopped, and police claim Adams “forced himself into the situation” while “officers stood back as Adams addressed them.” They claim he then flicked a cigarette at them, resulting in them arresting him.


The officers try for several minutes to get Adams to put his hands behind his back so that they can cuff him, to which Adams does not comply. Eventually, one officer maces Adams and punches him. The crowd watching the encounter immediately started screaming at the officers for the undue violence.

“We want to support our cops, but we want our cops to be sensitive to our communities,” activist Ernest Rucker said. “They’re not sensitive to the community.”

The public attention surrounding the incident prompted Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh to also issue a statement, saying he welcomes further scrutiny of the arrest.

“There were concerns that there was a video, that it went viral, there was an arrest being made, and police had to use force.”

According to police records, it is not the first time Adams has gotten into trouble with the law. He has already seen the inside of Passaic County Jail “at least 14 times.” Apparently, he has also been arrested in Essex County for three separate assault cases, one of which included the use of a deadly weapon.

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