Jersey City cops with batons break up major street brawl — VIDEO
JERSEY CITY — City officials defended police who responded to a 100-person street brawl Tuesday afternoon by beating some of the participants with batons. No serious injuries were reported.
Public Safety Director James Shea on Wednesday said officers used retractable batons and pepper spray to subdue people who attacked them.
Shea said he did not know what prompted the fight but it did not appear to be gang-related. He said it could have been a dispute among people who knew each other.
Shea said that based on body cam and surveillance videos, the officers acted correctly. Shea said six officers responded initially but he did not know the total number who became involved.
"I'm watching officers use items they were trained in, the way they were trained to use them against the parts of the body that they're trained to do it against while they are physically attacked and while other officers are being physically attacked and are under attack," Shea said.
He said the officers struck people in the arms and legs as opposed to the neck, head and groin in order to avoid serious injury.
"I haven't seen anything that would trigger an investigation of an officer," Shea said, stressing that only the incident at this point was under investigation by the Hudson County Prosecutor's Office.
A video posted by Hudson TV on Facebook opens with a crowd of more than a dozen people watching a fight in the middle of Bostwick Avenue before police arrive.
The video cuts to officers and individuals throwing punches on the sidewalk with some of the individuals on the ground.
A longer video of the fight can be seen here. (Warning: Audio of the video includes profanity and slurs).
Three adults and two juveniles were arrested.
Roland Gregory was charged with obstruction while Dashawn Muhammed and Latia Gregory were charged with aggravated assault on a police officer, disorderly conduct, obstruction, resisting arrest and failure to disperse. All refused medical treatment and were released pending a court date, police said.
Shea said investigators continue to seek additional video of the incident.
Police Chief Michael Kelly said his officers acted with "great restraint and used exactly the force necessary to bring this situation under to a close where nobody was hurt, even the people who were fighting with police."
Officers were concerned about losing their weapons and "attempts were made to rip their weapons and body cams from the officers bodies," Kelly said.
Anyone with any information regarding the incident is asked to call the Hudson County Prosecutor's Office or the JCPD Internal Affairs Bureau at 201-547-5472.
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