Montclair State defends cop who pulled gun after fight on campus
MONTCLAIR — Montclair State University on Thursday defended the decision by a police officer to draw his gun and point it at a person after officers responded to break up a large fight on Wednesday afternoon.
The incident happened around 4:30 p.m. when an officer saw a fight in a campus parking lot at Clove Road and Village Road, according to a statement from the school. While the fight was not caught on video, the ensuing arrest was and shared on Twitter by user Jaffer Mehdi. As of Thursday morning, the video had been viewed more than 200,000 times and retweeted and liked more than 3,000 times each.
After observing the fight, the officer contacted the department's headquarters before identifying himself to the people involved and ordering them to the ground. The statement from the school said the people involved did not immediately follow the officer's directions. The officer said he saw another person in the front seat of a nearby car and "additional movement in the rear seat," but said he couldn't see through the tinted windows.
"While the optics in the video may be unclear, the reality is that the officers acted according to New Jersey Attorney General guidelines and the process worked," the statement from Montclair said. "All of the officers holstered their weapons to make the arrests, with the exception of one officer who continued to monitor the movements of the partly obscured person in the backseat of the vehicle."
It was at this time that the officer drew his gun due to the "uncertainty of the situation," the school said.
Additional officers can be seen responding to the scene and again ordering the people involved in the fight to get on the ground. The school said one of the people involved refused to comply and was taken down by police and handcuffed.
No shots were fired and the school said nobody was injured with the exception of one of the officers who suffered "minor injuries," the school said.
One of the people involved in the fight was charged with simple assault while the other was charged with simple assault, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. They were processed and issued a summons for a future court date. The school did not identify the people involved, or say whether they were students at the school.