Chester, PA – A video of police breaking up a fight outside a St. Patrick’s Day party has gone viral after an officer was seen punching a woman in the face with a weapon in his hand (video below).
The incident occurred at about 5 p.m. on Saturday when a group of people tried to get into a St. Patrick’s Day house party in the 900-block of E. 16th Street near Widener University, the Daily Mail reported.
An edited video, filmed on a cell phone by a bystander, began just before the officer punched the woman.
The video showed that the officer was holding a Taser in the hand he struck her with.
Then he put her on the ground and handcuffed her as other officers fought with other partygoers around them.
Chester Police Chief James Nolan posted a lengthy statement in the form of a press release on the police department’s official Facebook page on Sunday that explained the video was only a short clip taken out of context.
Chief Nolan explained that officers had responded to a call for a large group of people fighting in what was described as a “riot” in the street on March 16.
He said a group of people had showed up for the party who were unknown to the hosts, so they were denied entry.
The group attacked the people throwing the party, so the hosts tried to lock themselves inside the house.
But the group kicked in the locked front door, entered the home, and proceeded to assault several people inside, according to the press release.
Chief Nolan said officers were gaining control of the crowd outside when 20-year-old Dominique Difiore hit an officer.
That's when the video started and showed the officer striking her.
Difiore was arrested, and so were 21-year-old Shawn Connelly, 20-year-old Tess Herman, and 18-year-old Jaylene Westfall.
They were all charged with several violations of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code including Aggravated Assault, and alcohol related offenses, according to the police department’s press release.
Chief Nolan said the incident captured on the video was under investigation.
“A partial video of the event is circulating on various social media platforms,” the press release said. “The incident, the video, and level of force used in connection with the event are all currently under investigation. There were numerous assaults and a college age St. Patrick's celebration going on in the neighborhood at the time of this incident. Police are still conducting investigations to determine if other persons will be charged in relation to the events of the day.”
Watch the clips of the incident in the videos below (scroll down for more):