Montgomery County police are investigating an incident, in which an officer is seen applying a chokehold on a teenage girl and punching another teen during a fight at a community church carnival over the weekend.
Cellphone video captured two Norristown Police officers trying to detain a teen girl as a group of rowdy teenagers surrounded them at the St. Francis Spring Carnival in Norristown, Pennsylvania. The officers were responding to a call of a massive fight involving more than 50 teens, Norristown Chief of Police Mark Talbot said.
In one video, an officer pinned a girl that they were initially trying to detain to the ground while a second officer tried to keep the crowd away. When the second officer went to assist his partner, some of the teens closed in with one girl reaching in to protect the teen from the officers.
The second officer then pushes the girl away and gets up to detain her; numerous teens then swarm him while the two teen girls and the first officer are still on the ground. A third officer finally arrives, pushing away many of the teens before grabbing his pepper spray and repeatedly shouting ”get back.” That’s when the crowd dispersed, and the officers were able to assess the situation.
Talbot said, “The crowd ignored all orders by the police and continued to fight. Officers reported being kicked, shoved, and punched and were forced to call for assistance from several surrounding departments.” He continued, “Officers made several arrests…”
Chief Talbot held an open forum to address the community’s concerns regarding the video. He said, “A full and thorough investigation is being conducted. We are committed to uncovering all of the relevant facts and will proceed in a transparent and impartial fashion.” Talbot continued, “This is not a racist police department. This wasn’t an act of terror by police. These officers were overcoming a significant amount of resistance.”
The girl being choked in the video told NBC 10, “I was saying, ‘I can’t breathe. Can you please let me go?’ It was pressing right on my neck. I couldn’t breathe at all. It was terrible.” She revealed the other young lady involved was her cousin, who remains in custody and will have a court hearing Monday after being accused of assaulting an officer.
The girl and her mother both want an apology from the officer and for him to be fired. All of the officers involved in the incident remain on duty as the investigation continues.