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June 07, 2018

Norristown police investigating video of officers breaking up fight

Police Chief Mark Talbot says 'I have concerns'

Police Fights
Police lights arrests crime Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

Kristen Oswald, of Royersford, Montgomery County, died during an Ironman triathlon in Ohio on Sunday after being struck by a commercial truck struck while she was cycling on the course. 

Norristown police are investigating a video that shows two officers attempting to break up a fight, during which one officer drew his gun and another threatened to punch an individual involved. 

"I understand the concerns that have been expressed," Norristown Chief Mark Talbot wrote in a Facebook post Thursday. "Frankly, I have concerns as well."

The video, posted to Instagram on Tuesday, shows two individuals brawling on the street as one officer tries to pull them apart. According to the user who posted the video, the fight occurred on Lafayette Street, but the exact location was not specified.

"Let go of her, or I'm going to punch you right in the face," the officer is head saying to one of the individuals fighting.

Another officer comes over to try and stop the fight, and eventually pulls one of the girls away. When a young bystander comes over to intervene, the officer pulls out his gun and points it at him, so he backs away with his hands raised in the air.

"Back the f*** up," the cop instructs the bystander. 

It is unclear how old the individuals involved in the fight are. 

Talbot said the police department is conducting a full investigation into the incident. He added that an outside agency would be brought in to review the video and surrounding evidence.

"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," Talbot said.

The video surfaces at a time when there is public scrutiny about how and when police decide to use force, both locally and nationally. Most recently, a video of a woman being arrested and punched in the head on the Wildwood beach has gained national attention.

In handling the incident, Talbot said the department takes the community's trust very seriously.

"Most importantly, I know that everyone expects that I will do what’s right and that is exactly what I will do," Talbot said.