ALIQUIPPA (KDKA) – Aliquippa Police say they were called to break up a fight, but once they got there, things got out of hand.
Most recently, police responded to a fight that started between two teen girls that quickly grew to 100.
The scene at Valley Terrace was chaotic.
Now there’s a debate: did the police go too far or did the community?
“Our officers basically stood around and waited for someone to bring a complaint to their attention,” said Aliquippa Police Chief Donald Couch, Jr. “They figured it was just a dispersing-type detail.”
But by all accounts, things turned ugly fast. Officers heard a scream and responded to a 13-year-old who was taken into custody.
“At that point in time, as the officers were trying to bring her out, the crowd started moving in, trying to get at that 13-year-old girl,” said Couch. “Their job now is to protect her and basically officers warned the crowd to disperse, get back, get back, get back multiple times. They failed to do so, one of the officers dispersed some OC spray.”
“The kids, their eyes and stuff were burning, so that’s when people got concerned,” said one woman.
“I almost got maced myself, there was a lot of tension,” said another woman.
Police say they had to use pepper spray to control the group.
In addition to the 13-year-old, police arrested two other women. Most face disorderly conduct charges and failure to disperse, with one facing drug-related charges.
A fourth woman is being sought.
Cell phone pictures show one of those arrests, but police and the community see what happened then very differently.
“That lady’s daughter was maybe involved in the scuffle, we’re not sure at this point in time, but basically she was coming out demanding answers and inquiries from officers as to what was going on, instead of dispersing as officers directed,” said Couch.
“I think they violated her, I think they did because she was exposed,” said one of the women.