HOPATCONG - A Hopatcong man says that what started out as a prank and an attempt at a viral video ended up with him facing charges and his brother under arrest.
Jason Hemmerich says that his older brother Kevin had a warrant out for his arrest linked to a sentence from a motor vehicle violation. When Kevin decided to turn himself in, the brother says they wanted to have some fun with it.
Kevin Hemmerich walked into the Hopatcong Police Station around 7 p.m. Thursday dressed in a bunny suit and blowing an air horn. Jason Hemmerich live-streamed the whole thing on Facebook Live.
“Personally I think it was a prank gone wrong,” Jason says.
While Kevin was blowing the air horn, two Hopatcong police officers come into the station. One of them asks Kevin why he is blowing the horn and then appears to hit Kevin in the head with a closed fist.
“If I had thought ‘you’re going to get beat up by the cops’ I never would have brought him there,” Jason says. “It was assault, it was just assault on my brother.”
A spokesman for Hopatcong police says there will be an investigation by Internal Affairs and/or the Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office and made no further comment. The Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office says that it is investigating, and that the officer involved was placed on administrative duty.
Jason now says the viral video has sparked a backlash and that he's receiving threatening phone calls and negative comments on social media.
He also says that he is facing some charges for the prank, but he wanted to speak out.
“I think something needs to be done about this and I think more people need to start paying attention,” Jason says.
He also says that he is considering suing Hopatcong police.
Neither Hopatcong police nor the Sussex County prosecutor identified the officers involved in the incident.