What started out as a fun Friday night activity became a conflict at last Friday’s varsity basketball game between NFA and Middletown. A viral video was posted to Facebook showing students being forced out of the basketball game.
The video was posted by Briana Honora. The video shows Middletown police removing students from Middletown High School. One officer yelled “everybody out,” as he opened the door of the exit. In the background you can hear “don’t put your hands on me,” being yelled by one teenage girl as the students are removed from the school. Students yelled and pushed back as they attempted to remain in the school.
According to Honora’s posting, at 6 p.m. security guards at Middletown High School claimed that the gym was at full capacity for the basketball game. Students were told to wait in the hallway.
“About 30 minutes later security guards as well as police officers said that the students were no longer allowed to wait in the hallway,” wrote Honora. “But had to wait outside in the 19-degree weather whether they had a ride home or not.”
Students attempted to explain that it was too cold and they wanted to wait in the hallway, Honora wrote. From there, the situation escalated. Honora claimed that some students were injured as they were forcibly removed. “One young lady was body slammed in the commotion and left with a severely hurt ankle,” said Honora.
Allegedly security still continued to allow certain people into the game despite claiming maximum capacity.
“This is not okay,” wrote Honora. “These are still kids. It was freezing outside. Why couldn’t the students remain in the hallways until they had a ride home from Middletown?”
According to Honora, at least six more police cars and two state trooper cars were called for the group of less than 25 students.
In a statement posted to Facebook, Middletown Police Chief John Ewanciw said “the video shows only a small portion of the event, which unfolded over more than 2 hours.”
The event “necessitated the response of multiple police agencies to defuse violent and dangerous behavior on the part of many individuals inside and outside of the school building,” said Ewanciw.
City officials like Mayor Torrance Harvey also commented on the event. Harvey posted a statement to Facebook last Saturday night.
According to Harvey there were two incidents Friday night. One incident also happened in the gym after NFA defeated Middletown where “things got very physical and people were hurt in that exchange as well.”
Harvey said a meeting will be coordinated this week between Newburgh officials and Middletown officials to review video footage and “discuss how these violent exchanges can be avoided and handled differently moving forward.” Wrongdoing will also be investigated.
In Ewanciw’s statement, he said that the Middletown Police Department is reviewing the incident to “determine if departmental policies and procedures were appropriately followed, and will work with school officials and our community partners to determine how [they] can prevent similar occurrences at school events in the future.”