Brawl involving more than 50 kids breaks out at church carnival in Pennsylvania

NORRISTOWN, Pennsylvania -- An investigation is underway in Norristown after police responded to a fight involving more than 50 kids at a church carnival.

Dozens of people showed up to a forum on Sunday with Norristown Police Department Chief Mark Talbot.

Talbot said an investigation is underway to see if the actions of the officers involved were justified.

Talbot said the incident started as a fight between some juveniles at the St. Francis Carnival Saturday around 8:30 p.m. He said some of the juveniles were being aggressive and his officers had to ask for backup from other departments.

Cell phone video shows dozens of juveniles involved in the brawl.

At one point the video shows an officer pulling out what appears to be pepper spray, but it does not look like he actually uses it. Punches are thrown by both juveniles and officers.

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Video also shows one girl being held in a chokehold by an officer.

The girl's mother, Alisha Bates, was at the meeting. She wants disciplinary action taken against the officer.

"They literally did not think she had much longer, that's how bad she was being choked," said Bates.

Talbot wouldn't say how many people were taken into custody or comment on any injuries.

He said it will take some time to sort out if the officers' actions were justified.

"We have a lot of people there that from what we hear were out of control. The officers were thrown into an environment in which they were tasked with dealing with something extremely difficult and they dealt with it. It's up to people like me - after the fact - to figure out if they did the right thing," said Talbot.

Many people called for the officers to be placed on desk duty while the investigation is underway.

"These officers should not be able to be still patrolling the streets. I don't think it's safe for our community. I honestly don't believe that it's safe for the officers to be roaming the community after such a heightened situation," said Tanesha Webb.

Norristown police would like to speak with witnesses who may have information about what happened that night.

Action News has reached out to St. Francis, where the carnival was held, but did not immediately receive a response.
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