Police investigate wrongful arrest claims at festival

By JAMES MITCHELL
Sunday Times Newspapers

LINCOLN PARK — By all accounts the final hours of Lincoln Park Days were, as a police spokeswoman said, “a little heated.” Whether police used excessive force in arresting a 23-year-old Lincoln Park man, against whom charges are pending, is being investigated.

Police are looking into allegations of police brutality for an arrest that was partially recorded on video by a friend of the Lincoln Park man, who contacted local television stations which aired the footage. Two officers are seen walking along with a departing crowd, communicating with someone ahead of them off-camera. The brief video then shows the two officers grab a man, wrestle him to the ground and secure him with handcuffs.

The video does not show the man prior to the police grabbing him, and any actions he might have taken prior to the arrest were not seen.

“He took a hostile stance against the officers,” the spokeswoman said.

Lincoln Park Days, the annual community festival, closed early on Aug. 24, a decision made by sponsoring organization the Lincoln Park Exchange Club. There had been several other, unrelated incidents, police said, including several fights and an assault in the beer tent.

“It was getting hot and heavy,” the spokeswoman said. Groups of teenagers were said to be intimidating people, and a larger-than-usual crowd responded harshly to the beer tent having closed early.

The video shows two police officers steering the departing crowds away from the event, to include first verbal than a physical confrontation with the man. Two fights reportedly ended with additional arrests, and a teenage girl reported having been assaulted by another girl.

The man was taken into custody, and his name withheld pending a future court date. The officers remained on duty pending the results of the internal investigation.

(James Mitchell can be reached at jmitchell@bewickpublications.com.)