Police in Chester, Pennsylvania are investigating an incident that took place over the weekend, when officers responded to what was reported as a “riot. Police said that it all happened as a St. Patrick’s Day celebration was going on in the area, where responding officers “located a large group of people fighting in the street.”
A video clip of what happened Saturday evening has gone viral, as it showed a uniformed officer striking a woman in the face.
The Chester Police Chief James Nolan addressed the matter in a Facebook post, claiming that the woman, identified as Dominique Difiore, 20, hit the officer.
It’s difficult to see in the video, although a woman can be seen flailing her arm in the officer’s direction before he strikes her, knocking her to the ground. The police department’s lengthy statement does not say anything about an officer hitting back, only saying that the woman “struck a police sergeant” and was then “taken into custody by officers on the scene.
They did note that the video has drawn controversy and are investigating the physicality used by officers in handling the situation, as well as the video itself.
“A partial video of the event is circulating on various social media platforms,” the police’s statement said. “The incident, the video, and level of force used in connection with the event are all currently under investigation.”
Witnesses told CBS Philadelphia that the incident with Difiore didn’t end after she got hit, and that an officer then used a taser on her ear.
“Her whole ear was gushing blood,” said Jaylene Westfall, 19, who was also arrested, accused by police of assaulting a resident of a home who wouldn’t let her and others into their party. “She was nonstop bleeding by the ear. She was in shock.”
“It was just very hectic,” Zachary Whalen, a senior at Widener University told the local station. “I would say probably 30, 40 people were just running around here, just beating the crap out of each other.”
The violence reportedly spun out of a pub crawl involving students at Widener University. The school said it “was not a university-sanctioned event,” and that those who were arrested did not go to the university.
[Image via Twitter screengrab]