York City Police probing video of melee involving officer
A video showing a physical altercation between a York City Police officer and a woman was being widely shared and debated on social media Monday.
The 10-second Facebook video — which has been viewed more than 60,000 times — begins with the officer pinning the woman to the ground with the woman's arms wrapped around the officer's neck.
The officer then takes three swings with his right arm toward the woman as he removes her arms from his neck, flips her over onto her stomach and pulls her right arm behind her back.
According to charging documents, the officer struck the woman in the face four times to "daze and disorient" her after she resisted arrest.
Alleged incident: York City Police released a statement Monday afternoon identifying the woman as Melissa Dyann Penn.
Penn, 21, of 416 S. Duke St., is charged with aggravated assault and resisting arrest, according to court documents.
Police say two officers were sent to Pandora's Box at 466 E. Market St. about 1:40 a.m. Monday and Penn was seen trying to get back into the bar after bouncers removed her.
Multiple people, including her father, were attempting to escort her from the property, documents state.
Her father was able to remove her from the property, but police say she made her way back and once again tried getting into the bar.
She was "extremely confrontational" to those around her, police said. On several occasions her father pleaded with her to leave, even telling her "the cops are right there," but Penn responded with "I don't give a f— about the cops!" according to charging documents.
An officer then approached the two and told them they would need to leave, documents state. Penn's father attempted to carry Penn away, but police say she was able to break free.
She tried getting into the bar again, and her father attempted to take her away from the scene, documents state.
Fought with police: A responding officer then approached Penn and ordered her to put her hands behind her back, to which she said "F— you!" police allege.
One officer took hold of Penn's left wrist and attempted to get control of her, when she began to pull away, documents state. An officer tried to perform an "arm bar take down," but she was able to get back on her feet, documents state.
The officer did it again and was able to get Penn to the ground, police said.
While on the ground, Penn was able to roll back and began kicking the officer in his torso, court documents allege. The officer pushed her leg to the side and tried to grab her wrist to get her to roll on her stomach, police said.
She wrapped her arms around the officer's neck, and the officer struck Penn in the face four times "in an attempt to daze and disorient Penn and regain tactical advantage over Penn," according to charging documents.
Police say she was then placed into custody before she was taken to central booking for arraignment.
Penn was arraigned at central booking and was released after posting $5,000 bail, according to the York County Sheriff's Office.
Penn could not be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon, and it is unclear if she has an attorney.
Chief's response: York City Police Chief Wes Kahley confirmed in a text message that the department has seen the video and is reviewing other video it has to determine what occurred.
"We have much more video that shows the totality of what occurred and are in the course of (identifying) everything that went on," Kahley said. "People should use caution in drawing a conclusion from a second of a lengthy video."
The department's statement says police hope to release more video in the future.
The York City Police Department is one of just a handful of departments in the state using police body cameras.
Kahley also said in a text message that a couple of arrests were made in relation to the incident.
"Every York City Police officer is expected to treat our citizens with respect and professionalism, but if physical force is used against our officers, they will respond according to our policies and the laws of this commonwealth," the department stated in its release.
Anyone with information or any further video regarding this incident is asked to contact the York City Police Department Internal Affairs Division at 717-849-2260.
— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser.