Police intend to work with community leaders following assault on officers in NJ
Police are increasing the number of officers on patrol in Paulsboro, New Jersey, after officers were surrounded by a crowd and assaulted Saturday when officers attempted to stop a fight and arrest those who were involved, the department chief said in a statement released Sunday.
According to Philly.com, a “very large” group of mostly young adults and juveniles assaulted the officers, who were able to stop the fight when police from neighboring departments arrived to help, according to Vernon Marino, Paulsboro’s police chief.
The disturbance occurred around 6 p.m. Saturday according to ABC 6 News.
The police tell ABC 6 in the statement that two people have been arrested and they are expecting more arrests.
“Our whole department is equipped with body worn cameras. The whole incident captured everyone who was involved,” said Paulsboro Police Chief Vernon Marino.
According to ABC 6, two officers initially responded to the call.
“While she was making that arrest, a crowd formed, and they were trying to take the female from her. While they were trying to take the female, the officer was punched in the face,” said Chief Marino.
Frank Hardy tells ABC 6 his granddaughter was one of the two arrested by police.
“She hit the officer by accident, not purposefully going after the other girl,” he said.
Hardy tells ABC 6 two women attacked his granddaughters and that led to the fight.
Hardy says he worked to disperse the crowd.
Later a cell phone video caught another disturbance around the same area, according to ABC 6.
The Chief says in the earlier fight, his officers used restraint, even after one was hit and another had the body camera ripped off.
The Chief tells ABC 6 in his statement, “Our concern is things could’ve went from bad to worse quickly when you have that many people, you don’t know if there are weapons involved, what their intentions are.
“Fortunately, with the aid of the body worn cameras, our officers will now have the ability to identify those who were fighting and those that failed to disperse when ordered to do so. There were additional disturbances throughout the evening, however our officers were able to quickly arrest those involved and calm those that gathered to watch,” the statement continued.
In his statement, the Chief asks parents to discuss the events with their children and to remind them about the risk to themselves and the danger to the community. He also said social media can stereotype the community and have negative impact on peoples’ view of law enforcement.
“While it’s your right to videotape and place on social media people at their worse or the ugliness of fights, it’s these same videos that continue to stereotype a town and its residents. It is simply irresponsible to post these incidents; doing so only helps to drive copycats wanting their 3 seconds of air time while eroding the core values of this town and its hard working, law [abiding] citizens. Our stakeholders (residents, council, churches, schools, businesses) have a strong, respectful relationship with this police department, and we will continue that partnership as we combat crime and those set out to do harm to our police officers and this town. (Paulsboro Pride).”
ABC 6 reports Chief Marino said in the past police been able to work with community groups and local churches to ease tensions, and he said they plan to have similar meetings in the near future.
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