Surveillance video of the brutal beating of a 15-year-old Newark teenager may only tell half the story.
The attack last week by a pack of teenagers shows the youth being pummeled and kicked as he lay on a sidewalk in front of a deli about four blocks from his school, Barringer High School.
Police said the Oct. 18 incident was a robbery, and announced an arrest Wednesday of a 15-year-old on charges of robbery, aggravated assault and conspiracy.
But a fellow student told NBC New York that he thought it was retaliation for an attack on one of his friends a few minutes earlier in front of the school.
"They beated up one of my friends," said Ryeshon Peteet, 18, a student at Barringer, and then added, "People got mad and they caught them down there."
He said the 15-year-old, who is Hispanic, was part of the first group that attacked Peteet's friend.
So Peteet's friends chased the boy to the deli where several of them -- mostly or all African-American -- then proceeded to beat him, which was all caught on surveillance video.
Another student, Justin Montanez, said there is a racial divide at the school that contribues to frequent fighting. "It's different between the races at Barringer," Montanez said, while explaining, "Everybody stick to their own kind: 'Rican to 'Rican, black to black, white to white."
Police spokesman Sgt. Ronald Glover said two juveniles have been arrested so far while the investigation continues.
In the meantime, student Peteet said the law of the streets applied here.
"If you beat somebody up, you should know you're gonna get beat up," Peteet said.
The 15-year-old arrested in the attack has been remanded to a youth detention facility. His name is not being released because he is a juvenile.
“Detectives from the Major Crimes unit are actively engaged in identifying and arresting all the suspects involved in this atrocious assault of a minor," Police Director Samuel DeMaio said Wednesday.