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NORTH VERSAILLES (KDKA) — A North Versailles police officer’s actions are being questioned after video of a controversial arrest went viral, gaining more than 1 million views on Facebook.
The incident started outside the Phoenix Theatres movie theater in North Versailles in late February.
The theater manager and a North Versailles police officer working a security detail removed three girls from the theater for what the officer described as “disorderly conduct” and “causing a disturbance.”
Melanie Carter, of Wilkinsburg, captured the incident on her cell phone and posted the video to Facebook.
She became upset with how the girls were being treated and was approached by a theater manager who was only identified as “Jason” in a criminal complaint.
Carter: “They called our children animals.”
Jason: “Yeah, because they’re behaving like an animal.”
Carter: “They called our children animals. They’re doing the very same thing the rest of these kids are doing in here.”
According to police reports, North Versailles Officer Christopher Kelly believed Carter was making things worse. In the video, he is seen telling Carter to leave. Carter responds that she paid her money and her kids are inside.
Carter: “I’m not going anywhere.”
Kelly: “This is defiant trespassing. Get off the premises.”
Carter: “I didn’t trespass anything. I didn’t do anything wrong.”
That’s when Officer Kelly reached for his handcuffs and started to make an arrest while Carter repeatedly said “get off of me” and told him not to touch her.
The officer filed four charges against Carter, including resisting arrest, failure to disperse, disorderly conduct and defiant trespass.
On her Facebook page, Carter says, “I broke no laws. I’m asking the community to help me seek justice. I need a lawyer.”
The movie theater posted the following statement on their Facebook page Friday:
“We are aware of this incident and after an internal investigation, we determined that the manager’s conduct does not reflect our values, his training, or our policies. This is certainly not the way we treat people, and this manager has been relieved of his duties. The off-duty police officer is not an employee of our company, and his actions have been reported to his superiors.”
The North Versailles Police Department has not responded to KDKA-TV’s inquiries about the officer and the incident.