A Higher Education

Radley Balko has taken time off from  puppy love to note another isolated incident, the  second such isolated incident coming out of beautiful New Brunswick, New Jersey in a week.  They’re certainly getting their money’s worth out of the local cops in Jersey.

The latest involves two Rutgers students who  made the mistake of renting the basement apartment in a house where a warrant was to be executed.


Two Rutgers roommates say they were sleeping in the early morning hours of December 10th and had no idea who was barging into the basement room they share in an off-campus house in New Brunswick.


“I got hit in the face; I got hit in the ribs. That’s basically what happened,” said Kareem Najjar, a Rutgers University student.


“I remember basically waking up to being hit, on the side of my face, on my back I got kicked a couple of times and stepped on,” Kostman said.


You can never tell when some student, against whom no evidence exists to suggest they are in any way involved in criminal activity, might attack.  Better safe than sorry, the police manual spells out, so first subdue them as violently as possible.



The roommates say it wasn’t until they were handcuffed that they were told this was a raid by New Brunswick Police who apparently had a warrant for someone else in the house.


“You were never arrested?” Eyewitness News reporter Sarah Wallace asked.


“No, and we asked why we were being arrested and they said, ‘you’re not being arrested you are being detained’,” Najjar said.


Once they were finally released, they say the cops had ransacked their room, and left them sitting for nearly two hours in their underwear in the cold.


Kostman claims his handcuffs were so tight and on for so long, he now has permanent nerve damage in his thumb.


That’s the price one has to pay for police safety.  Don’t like it? Well, next time you’re in trouble, call a criminal.  Chances are they won’t do as much damage.

None of this, of course, comes as much of a surprise.  It happens.  It happens over and over.  And then it happens again.  The larger question, of course, is why we continue to tolerate police doing this, and the answer can be found in the comments to the story at My Central Jersey :



7:44 AM on February 12, 2011


So many are quick to judge before all the facts are in. I’m sure these two “college students” are not as pure as the driven snow. The term “Brutal Beating” has become a standard whine for media releases and frivolus lawsuits.


8:09 PM on February 11, 2011


These type of things tend to happen when you live in a drug house!


2:51 PM on February 12, 2011


Are you referring to one where 4 of 5 cops are on top of a guy who is still resisting arrest, and the cop hits him four times? In my opinion, and most the people who commented on that article, the guy got what he deserved. A cop tells me to do something, and I do it. These cops have a tough job, dealing with strong young men with poorly developed brains.


5:59 AM on February 12, 2011


Because the smell of $$$$$ is more attractive when you sue for it instead of earning it. When they lose a case, those who file frivolous lawsuits should be made to pay ALL Court Costs! Students don’t want their parents (who are paying tuition for their little darlings) to know what they are up to and try to distort things so that they look like the victims. Remember Tyler Clementi. Over the years we have seen the drunkeness, DWI’s, drug use, fights, assault, theft by these little angels away from home for the first time and it creates a huge expense for the taxpayers here. We are sick of it and the media should not pander to it.


7:48 AM on February 12, 2011


Many Rutgers students have become as bad as some of the local low lives in New Brunswick. It took 2 months so they could get together with their schiester lawyer and come up with a greatly embellished tale of woe.


They don’t call it the Garden State for nothing.  Plant a seed and it grows.  Sometimes it grows stupid.

I’ve expressed concern that those of us who are inclined to find these isolated incidents disturbing are becoming desensitized to them by the onslaught of videos and images of brutal police conduct.  But what of those who don’t find it troubling at all?

It strikes many of us, myself included, as impossible to learn of these isolated incidents and not have them influence our realization of what happens on the streets.  We see kids, college students, beaten, sometimes killed, by police.  By mistake.  For nothing.  What part of a brain allows a person to disconnect the harm done with the recognition that these are our children, our brothers, our friends, and makes it acceptable to sacrifice them in the name of order?

I fear the answer remains that until it happens to them, until it touches them personally, there will be a way that those who adore order, and the enforcers of order, to excuse it.  The only good news is that at the pace police abuse and misconduct is going, it may touch them sooner than they think.  Only when it touches their lives will these apologists and blamers get a higher education.  And then they’ll wonder why everyone doesn’t feel bad for them.

But I wonder whether it will reach a point where police officers, most of whom I want to believe are men and women of good will and conscience, have had enough of watching videos of their own doing this to people.
Will cops ever reach the point where they won’t tolerate the beatings anymore?


“I don’t think anyone should ever be allowed to just come into your house and just beat the crap out of you,” Kostman said.

Will cops ever agree?

7 comments on “A Higher Education

  1. John R.

    You do know that most if not all of those commenters are likely cops themselves, right?

    Dirty little secret: they have a lot of time on their hands and dominate online newspaper commenting.

    I’m not sure what would be worse: that this is the outlook cops have, or that this is the outlook most of the general public has.

  2. Ernie Menard

    Remember John Williams, the Native American woodcarver shot in Seattle? You just ought to read some of the comments – either the commenters are CDL’s or cops. Frankly, I doubt they’re CDL’s as if they are, they’re trying to either disingenuously or ignorantly parse a statute.

  3. John R.

    Neither. It’s what used to be called a modus operandi, so there’s a strong likelihood. Someday I’ll elaborate for you, if you like, but I can’t right now.

  4. SHG

    No, I’m not interested.  My point in asking was to demonstrate that once again, you’ve made a baseless assertion.  Obviously, they could be cops, but only an idiot would assert that they are when he has no clue whatsoever.

  5. John R.

    Well, an MO is circumstantial evidence, you know. I didn’t say they WERE cops, I said it was likely. Not knowing for certain is not the same as having “no clue whatsoever”.

    You’re not interested in any elaboration, that’s fine. But it’s not quite fair to call something baseless when you don’t know what basis might be offered and you’re not interested.

    Happy blogging b-day, BTW.

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