Atlantic City, New Jersey, has long been regaled as the "world's playground," where sun, surf, sand, eager tourists and anxious gamblers meet.
Yet it is also, black residents for decades have alleged, a haven for rampant police brutality and excessive force. Over time, scores of African-Americans have charged that city officials have consistently ignored police violence. Much, if not most of it, they insist, is aimed at blacks, particularly younger men.
Unlike previous instances of alleged brutality and misconduct, however, the January 27 beating of a black teen and his librarian mother's calm, yet fearless response, has galvanized citywide action, outrage and continuing demands for police accountability and systemic reforms with the city's department.
The teen, Trent Brewer, Jr., 15, according to his mother and independent eye-witnesses who testified before the Atlantic City City Council, was beaten mercilessly by four plainclothes police officers. A quiet youth, he has never committed a crime nor ever been accused of any.
Brewer, whose left eye was dislodged from its socket and permanently damaged by the beating, has endured two long surgeries by specialists in Philadelphia. Others will be necessary, but cannot repair the permanent damage Brewer has suffered said his mother, Andrea Gray.
Brewer, along with two other black youth and his step-father, were walking toward an Atlantic City convenience store when a plainclothes policeman got out of an unmarked vehicle and approached them. "Who are you?" young Brewer asked. "I'll show you who I am," the officer reportedly responded, then punched the youth.
The other three police officers riding with the alleged assailant, according to Gray, joined the lead officer in attacking Brewer. All four took turns kicking and stomping Brewer, Gray said.
Gray responded to the beating, which officials first claimed was caused by Brewer's allegedly having "resisted arrest" by contacting civil rights activists through Policeabuse.com, a website devoted to ending police brutality and educating the public to combat it.
Established by Diop Kamali, a former Los Angeles County, California, Sheriff's Deputy whose father served in that department before him, Policeabuse.com has been operational since 2000.
He and Gray, a soft spoken librarian in neighboring Pleasantville, are being represented by a prominent Moorestown, New Jersey, attorney, William Buckman.
Respected throughout the state for large judgments won in civil rights cases, Buckman said that he will file a suit on behalf of Brewer and Gray in federal court this month.
The beating and the series of vocal protests it triggered at City Hall, organized by Gray and civil rights advocate Terrence Jones, a former Philadelphia police officer, have drawn consistent coverage by The Press of Atlantic City, News 4 and News 1.
That combination of sustained activism, widespread demands for justice and on-going news coverage, apparently drove elected officials to create the city's first-ever police civilian review board, which they announced May 24.
1. Me & the homie @jaleelwhite #RujohnFoundation Happy to be in Jamaica! Good times
1 of 25
2 of 25
3 of 25
4 of 25
5. Good Morning. Early day in Detroit! Making press rounds for @thebossnetwork's Ladies That Lead Tour. Thank you @traycemadre and @colourbynumbr for my glam.
5 of 25
6. POWER the best show on TV @djenvy, Queens we so big out here. #EFFENVODKA #FRIGO
6 of 25
7. They said u lost a step, wasn't explosive as once was, the best days was in the real view, questioned your drive, your leadership, your commitment, you don't have killer instinct, going back home is the worst mistake in your career, he got the coach fired, players traded, won't work between him and Kyrie, Him and Kev won't work, love your teammates to much, there's no way he can deliver a championship in his hometown, etc etc etc.... But guess what THATS NONE OF MY BUSINESS #StriveForGreatness #ThisOneIsForTheLand #PutSomeRespeckOnMyName Hahahaha!!! Yes sir
7 of 25
8. Oooooh weeee this man right here is responsible for at least three of our four babies!! #JOE ❤❤❤🎤 #rnb #king #voicelikebutter #ForPeetesSake
8 of 25
9. Hanging with my @abcnetwork family! @abcunclebuck tonite y'all check us out ! @anthonyanderson @traceeellisross
9 of 25
10. My broski ( @sayeedshahidi ) and I are on Top 5 Live on @go90 at 5 (which is super duper close)! Make sure to tune in :) #UncleBuck #Blackish
10 of 25
11. Lights out💤 #GoodNight
11 of 25
12. Late nights mornings
12 of 25
13. Ran into the lovely talented @siedahgarrett on this brutiful favvuz deh!
13 of 25
14. #halal #love #thedargans #kattwilliamsSHOW #mashallah when that Jennah piece HIT!! @sweetjennahcollection glasses by @baddieglamaccessories LIZ 😍 @dynamiteko top @dazzledmv and jeans @thevision414 and shoes: @louboutinworld
14 of 25
15. Big Hair and Optical Illusions #OceanDrive #MiamiLiving #coverparty
15 of 25
16. MAMA and THE SAVAGES ... ⚓️ #supportyourlocalgirlgang
16 of 25
17. From the bottom of my ❤️, thank you new followers & old! & hello fellow night owls! #grateful #racheltrue #naturalhair #curlyhair #curlygirl #healthyhair
17 of 25
18. I feel so grateful because I met these amazing young minds, visiting from Houston TX, during their college tour stop today at #usc.These students are ALL extraordinary and embody academic excellence so I'm humbled to have shared a few moments with them to applaud and celebrate their bright futures ahead! Thank you @EmergeFellows for inviting me to speak and blessing me with your love and attention this afternoon!
18 of 25
19. Happy Fathers Day Pops. U taught me how to be a man. Lessons of love, hard work & gratefulness. Sorry the fishing didn't stick. LOL. I Love U!
19 of 25
20. Sky Zone and Ice Cream! Best Fathers Day Ever!! Photo credit @mariahcarey
20 of 25
21. Look what finally came in the mail 😎 #mtvmovieawards2016 💥+🌽! #straightouttacompton
21 of 25
22. Claudia Jordan: ....
22 of 25
23. 'Member that time I almost knocked a bajillion dollar camera off the car? Really? Yeah, me neither! #Greenleaf Episode 2 comin atcha!
23 of 25
24. Full of love. #birthday #Cabo
24 of 25
25. Oh hey! Look who just joined Snapchat
25 of 25
Continue reading Media Spotlights Vicious Atlantic City Police Beating