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NEWARK — The video is barely two-and-a-half minutes long, but each second is more disturbing than the one before.
Somewhere in Newark, a teenage boy can be seen removing his clothes, stripping completely naked while he is berated and cursed at by another man in a black hat and black T-shirt. A pack of men surround their cornered victim, laughing and commenting on the situation.
As the boy stands there with his shoulders slumped, the man in the black shirt screams about a debt owed by their victim's father. As the boy cowers, the leader of the group grabs a belt from one of his sidekicks and screams at the victim.
"Where my money at?" he howls.
"I don't know," the victim responds meekly.
What happens next has infuriated law enforcement and city leaders. For 90 seconds, the boy is mercilessly whipped with the belt while the group continues to laugh at him, demanding he tell the camera that it's a "dog eat dog world."
At the end of the video, someone announces the amount of money that sparked the vicious attack — a measly $20.
The video, which contains some disturbing images and abusive language, has attracted nearly 38,000 views on YouTube as of Monday night. Newark Police Director Samuel DeMaio said he was infuriated by the video and dispatched three separate detective squads to find the man holding the belt in the clip, which he called "sickening."
"You don't know how bad I want to see the kid who did that taken into custody," he said.
Newark City Council President Anibal Ramos echoed that sentiment.
"The perpetrator as well as those who stood idly by laughing and videotaping this act of savage brutality should be brought to justice," he said.
A screen grab from a YouTube video shows a teenager as he is being forced to strip naked . Shortly afterward, the teen is beaten repeatedly with a belt. Newark police are trying to identify the victim and the attacker.
DeMaio said police have an idea of where the attack took place and are closing in on the assailants. Investigators are aware of a Twitter account that has been associated with publicizing the videos, according to DeMaio, who declined to comment further.
It remains unclear who the victim or assailants were, but social media has offered some insight into the Twitter account DeMaio was referring to. Dozens of furious tweets linking to the video identify someone owning the Twitter handles @440BoyRiqBubz and @RiqBubz as the person who began promoting the clip online.
The hackers collective Anonymous, an international pro free-speech group that was linked a cyber-attack on the Newark municipal website last year, also pointed the finger at that Twitter account.
DeMaio said the attackers will likely face aggravated assault and weapons charges. He said the victim of the attack appeared to be a teenager, but would not say if police contacted anyone seen in the video.
Newark Police Director Samuel DeMaio said he was "sickened" by a viral video that shows a young Newark man forced to strip naked before he was whipped by a belt over a debt of twenty dollars.
Michael Monday/The Star-Ledger
For the director, who has a young son of his own, the investigation is taking a personal turn.
"To see him stripped down naked and taken advantage of and abused like that, it was sickening to me,” DeMaio said. “I pictured somebody doing that to my son … the people that did that need to be brought to justice for sure."
The video was also housed on WorldStarHipHop.com, a popular urban media web site that has been criticized for also hosting videos of brutal street fights, but has since been taken down. The web site was home to another clip of brutal urban violence last year when it posted a viral video of a Cleveland bus driver uppercutting a woman who allegedly attacked him.
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