A brawl between a reported 50 teenagers at a Norristown, Pennsylvania Catholic church carnival has prompted a police investigation.
In a video posted to Facebook and other social, a Norristown Police Department officer can be seen appearing to put a teenage girl in a chokehold with dozens of girls around screaming. The same officer strikes a girl who was charging him while he had the other teen in the hold. Another officer appears to slam a girl to the ground. Within seconds, it’s a chaotic scene; a fight between police and teens. All the while, the girl, reported to be 14, is still held by the officer with his arm fastened around her neck.
The melee occurred Saturday at the St. Francis Spring Carnival. Cops were called to break up a fight that it’s reported involved several dozen teens. The video shows one officer with a girl in a firm neck hold on the ground. Surrounded by screaming girls, one appears to jump on the officer in an attempt for him to free the girl.
Another officer begins to spray what was reported to be pepper spray at the crowd, which quickly backed up.
Regina Etheridge posted the video to Facebook with this caption: “Can’t believe that Norristown police thinks this is ok to punch a girl in the face and choke her friend??♀️ Bc of this they knocked over a ride that kids were on!!!! So sad and why I don’t come to town events… the cops are 1000% wrong.., I sent the video to NBC”.
In a post to Instagram, Topsidemarc wrote, “Going right to y’all chief !! Norristown PD at its finest.. Make it go viral !!!!!!! First girl got thrown to the ground because she was walking towards a girl arguing, other cops continued to aggressively push people and threaten them, the other cop is being very physical with the 14yr old girl on the ground, choking her , hitting her , etc. second girl: thrown to ground for hitting a cop after he hit her twice, while on the ground being kneed in the back and legs. There’s ALOT more to this video. This shit NEEDS to stop.”
Norristown Police Chief Mark E. Talbot Sr. took to social media to address the incident and announce an investigation.
“My leadership team and I are investigating last night’s events at St. Francis. A complete and thorough review will be conducted. I will be available at municipal hall in council chambers between 3 and 5 pm today to speak with any interested residents. My purpose is to provide initial comments and describe the investigative steps that we will take moving forward. We will also have staff on hand to interview anyone who may have witnessed what occurred.”
These two diverging comments were representative of the hundreds on the chief’s post:
“I would like to say thank you to the Norristown police I was involved in one of the incidents that happened that night. I was appalled by the behavior of the “children” there. But thanks for making sure I was ok!!”
“I would like to know if that choke hold is part of Norristown Police department training?”
Talbot met with some residents on Sunday afternoon, including some that were at the incident.
“Dozens of people here in Norristown speaking with Police Chief Mark Talbot after a fight broke out at a carnival last night. Many questioning the actions of officers and asking that they be taken off the streets during the investigation.”
The officers have not been named and it’s unclear if anyone involved in the fight is facing charges.