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    Saturday, July 20, 2024

    Norwich police, city officials continue to investigate Saturday park fight

    Norwich ― Police and city leaders continue to investigate an altercation at Jenkins Park on Saturday that led to the arrest of one man for allegedly assaulting an officer, two officers being injured and pepper spray being used to disperse the crowd.

    City and police leaders said Monday they were unaware a large basketball tournament and block party with food trucks and music was being held at Jenkins Park on Mechanic Street before a woman called 911 to report a different disturbance at the event.

    Organizers had not applied for a city permit to run a large event at the city-owned park, City Manager John Salomone said, and the city would not authorize a one-time event with more than 50 people at Jenkins Park.

    An event organizer, who would not identify himself, said he submitted a permit application and proof of insurance.

    “I’m working closely with the chief of police,” Salomone said. “We’re in a data gathering mode. We’ve got to review a lot of different videos, audio portion of the videos before we have any response.”

    The event was billed as a basketball tournament for 16 teams for players aged 16 to 21 in memory of Camaury Clack, a 19-year-old man who was fatally shot May 10, 2023 outside his Sandy Lane home. The event flyer said it would feature music, food trucks, vendors and prizes.

    The organizer said this was the second annual event, and last year’s event also had city permits and ran smoothly without incident.

    Police said the large crowd grew hostile toward officers who responded to a fight that had broken out between two men. Police said Jaylen Jarmon, 23, of 129 Prospect St., resisted arrest, assaulted an officer and held him in a choke hold. Jarmon was charged with second-degree assault, breach of peace, assault on a police officer and interfering with a police officer. He later posted a $250,000 bond and was released. He is slated to appear in Norwich Superior Court on July 11.

    Police said they were forced to use pepper spray to disperse several people who closed in on them as they attempted to arrest Jarmon and break up the fight. Police officers said they needed to use fist strikes, pepper spray and a Taser to subdue Jarmon.

    Two officers were transported to Backus Hospital for medical treatment which included facial and head injuries from the man’s assault.

    Police have not identified the two officers. Police Chief Patrick Daley said the officers were treated and released from the hospital.

    Daley said the investigation continues and more arrests may result. Police are reviewing video footage and are asking anyone with video of the incident to assist in the investigation. Any time officers use force, a report must be filed by police and submitted to the state.

    Daley said police are reviewing police body camera footage from all 10 Norwich officers who responded, amounting to hundreds of hours of footage, and hope to release portions of the videos later this week. Daley said police must redact any identifiable information on the dozens of juveniles who had been at the event.

    Three people who were at the event, including one who said he was pepper sprayed by police, said some officers escalated the confrontation. None would identify themselves. They said as police were ordering participants to leave, police cruisers on scene blocked the roadway and parking lot preventing them.

    The incident occurred one week before the city’s big fireworks festival, to be held Friday evening at Norwich Harbor. The event, which includes children’s activities, food and novelty vendors and fireworks at 9 p.m., usually draws a large crowd.

    Daley said police will have a “very visible presence” at the fireworks event and will seek assistance from surrounding police departments as is does each year. Norwich reciprocates by assisting other departments with coverage at their big events, such as Sailfest in New London.

    As they review police response to Saturday’s incident, police and city officials are also evaluating how to prevent similar incidents in the future. The city has a policy enacted in 2021 governing the use of city facilities and insurance requirements.

    Jenkins Park routinely hosts sports tournaments, most notably Night Flight basketball league tournaments. The city Recreation Department issues permits for Night Flight as a league using the city facility. Games by school teams also are played at the Jenkins sports complex.

    “We have a great relationship with most of the community organizations,” Daley said. “We’ve never had anything like that.”


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