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.
2. HAPPY CHILDREN=QUALITY PARENTING. We don't always see eye to eye on everything and that's normal. We're human beings. But we come together and do it right for what's important, the kids. We are not enemies, we are parents. And we are parents 1st. S/O to @monyettashaw for making Mason's bday memorable. S/O to @itscrystalsmith at home taking care of our other lil' Prince. ❤️❤️❤️ THIS IS WHAT CO-PARENTING LOOKS LIKE. #Blessed #Happy #AboveTheDrama #BiggerThanUs
2 of 31
3. So happy to finally be able to share with you all that I’m the new Global Brand Ambassador for @Revlon! Follow my day on RevlonSnaps. Yay! Choose Love, Everybody! #RevlonXCiara #chooselove #ad
7. Today was not easy..but by the grace of God we all got through it. Words cannot express our gratitude for all of your Prayers, Positive thoughts and Support for us throughout the years. Tommy will be missed but most certainly never forgotten...And PLEASE don't ask "Where's Martin?.." he was there too...just not in this picture. Lol! God bless you all.. #LoveConquersAll #MartinShow
7 of 31
8 of 31
9. West coast get ready for #RockyHorror. I will be live tweeting again. #letsdothetimewarpagain
9 of 31
10. #THEKEYS pre order yours now ... Available everywhere #NOV22 #WeTheBest 🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑
10 of 31
11. We about to ROCK at #KCABlackBall!! All for our life-changing effort to end 🌎 AIDS.
11 of 31
12. Today's #SNAPJACK is brought to you by @yazzthegreatest 😂😂😂💋💋💋
12 of 31
13. Damn girl you kinda old to be headed to the Go Go. You coming in at the age they leaving. LMAO
13 of 31
14. Daddy daycare B-Boxin with @acewellstucker @shopraisingace
14 of 31
15. #FBF Naviyd & URV "LIL MONSTERS"
15 of 31
16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF THE BIGGEST LEGENDS IN OUR HIPHOP HISTORY! @snoopdogg CONTINUED BLESSING AND LOVE FAMILY!!!!! REAL OG!
16 of 31
17. Thank you for a beautiful night VSU! Let's do it again! #HOMECOMING
17 of 31
18. Had a great time this morning with my familia Erica, Griff & Truth!!
18 of 31
19. Check out my interview on @essence facebook live. #inmyownwords #nycpromo #day2
22. Why me and @coryhardrict got the same pose... and notee... new mouth #naked
22 of 31
23. When my husband is my personal 'hype-man'! it kills me every time! 💜😂 #WHATNOW #lostfiles📷
23 of 31
24. Diggy Simmons
24 of 31
25. Hand full of @jacquieaiche 💙💎💍 @esnail_la 💅🏾
25 of 31
26. SuperSoulers! You can watch my interview with Carl Lentz live from my Facebook page, tomorrow at 11a ET| 8a PT. #SuperSoulSunday
26 of 31
27. 💋 .. When the friendship is easy like Sunday morning. ☀️
27 of 31
28. Sunday mornings are the best........... hugs and cuddles with my angel
28 of 31
29. #huggar16 #hellohuggars
29 of 31
30. My gym is everywhere!.. #RnBMoney #TheGeneral 📸: @twelvepastseven
30 of 31
31. Nothing I would rather be doing... Rocko setting up our movie, Romelō working on a puzzle & Laiyah singing and sharing all she's learning at school... I'm so grateful for the joy they've brought into my life ... Praying for peace , joy & love in the home of EVERY family ♥️ #HeadScarfPJSunday LOL 😂
31 of 31
Continue reading Media Spotlights Vicious Atlantic City Police Beating