Norristown, PA – The Norristown police chief has launched an investigation into the actions of two officers after a viral cell phone video showed them breaking up a fight between two women (video below).
At one point a bystander tried to interject, and an officer briefly drew his weapon to get the male to back off, video showed.
“I think that the use of force is never pretty and this is no different,” Norristown Police Chief Mark Talbot told WTXF.
Cell phone footage of the incident, which occurred on June 4, did not capture what led up to the officers’ involvement.
According to WCAU, a large group of teens was throwing metal scooters at one another, and a woman was swinging a shovel.
The video showed two officers as they jumped into a chaotic brawl between two women who were wrestling in the middle of a street.
They repeatedly ordered the women to stop, but they refused.
“Let go of her, or I’m gonna punch you right in the face,” one of the officers threatened.
The second officer was able to pull the other woman from her grasp and dragged her to a nearby street corner as a young man came running at him.
“Back the f - - k up!” the officer yelled, drawing his duty weapon while he pinned the woman to the ground.
The officer put his gun away after the male backed off.
The officers proceeded to handcuff the women as the brief clip ended.
It was unclear whether they were charged.
The male who approached the officer later told WCAU that he felt the officer should have never pointed his weapon at him.
“He has a baton, a taser, plenty of things he could have used,” he asserted.
The male’s age was not specified, but WCAU described him as a teenager.
Chief Talbot pointed out that the officers had walked into a violent melee.
“Part of what I need to do is remember that they are out there, dealing with a chaotic situation,” he explained. “They don’t know who is armed, who is not armed.”
“I’ve spoken to several community members personally and I’ve read your social media posts as well,” the chief said in a Facebook post. “I understand the concerns that have been expressed. Frankly, I have concerns as well.”
Chief Talbot said that an outside department would conduct an investigation into the incident.
"Taking this step will help to ensure that we don’t appear to be giving ourselves a passing grade on a test that we created," the chief noted in a Facebook post.
“We really strive to treat everybody better than they expect,” Chief Talbot told WCAU. “And here’s an opportunity for us to take steps that I don’t think most police departments would normally take.”
He released an additional Facebook statement on Friday, after he received backlash from people who “decided that I’ve implicitly condemned my officers.”
Chief Talbot clarified that his concerns went far beyond what had occurred during the videotaped incident.
“I’m concerned about the lives of cops who are often alone when dealing with problems that are years in the making,” he wrote. “I’m concerned about the vicious criticisms heaped upon the police by some…I’m concerned about the reflexive and thoughtless defense of the police by others.”
“I’m concerned about keyboard warriors who have done nothing dangerous in their lives yet criticize those who do it every day,” Chief Talbot continued. “I’ll stop being concerned when I’m no longer responsible for the lives of thousands of people, which includes the men and women of the Norristown Police Department.”
You can watch the viral clip in the video below: