Jersey City

Video Shows New Jersey Police Using Batons, Pepper Spray to Break Up Crowd

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Police officers in New Jersey are facing scrutiny over their use of force after videos of their response to reports of a street fight went viral on social media.

While authorities say the use of batons and pepper spray was justified and some of the viral videos have been edited, Jersey City residents who witnessed Tuesday's incident blame police for escalating the situation, NBC News reports.

Officials said at a news conference Wednesday that the situation escalated after a juvenile tried to grab an officer's gun. Police Chief Michael Kelly said that three 911 calls were received within a short time Tuesday regarding a street fight on Bostwick Avenue. The last call indicated that 100 people were involved.

Kelly said six officers were dispatched and that a crowd engaged with and fought responding officers.

Videos posted to social media that have been widely shared show an officer striking people with a baton during the altercation. NBC News has not been able to verify what happened before or after the events shown on the videos.

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