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WARREN PARTY Officials to decide if probe is needed



Published: Sun, March 23, 2003 @ 12:00 a.m.



No formal complaints have been filed.

PEGGY SINKOVICH

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

WARREN -- An outside agency won't be called to investigate this weekend's downtown melee until city officials determine if a probe is needed.

Parents and teens have contacted Mayor Hank Angelo and Fred Harris, the city's safety service director, with allegations of police brutality.

Police department officials have denied any wrongdoing. No one has filed a formal complaint.

"We want to gather as much information as possible to determine if an independent investigation is necessary," Angelo said. "We have had several calls, and we are asking others to come forward so we can find out what happened."

Some of the calls the mayor received say police used unnecessary force to make arrests and overreacted. The mayor, however, noted that one caller said police officers acted properly.

"We have had conflicting reports, and that is why we want to get all the information we can," the mayor said. "We have an obligation to protect and serve the citizens, and I want to make sure we are doing that."

About the party

Police say about 100 to 150 people -- mostly teenagers -- spilled onto North Park Avenue early Saturday after a birthday party ended at the Comfort Inn. Police reports state there were many fights and yelling when officers arrived. Police arrested seven juveniles and one adult.

Michael Simpson, 19, of Warren, arrested on charges of inciting violence and resisting arrest, said he was assaulted by officers. Simpson said he was hit in the head while he was on ground and handcuffed. He appeared in municipal court Monday and pleaded innocent. He is free on a $1,000 bond.

Simpson said he plans to file a formal complaint when his attorney returns from vacation. Simpson said he was playing music at the party, which was held for an 18-year-old friend.

Ajit Patel, owner of the hotel, said the birthday party was for a teenager and no alcohol was served. He said a fight started outside when teenagers who were not invited showed up.

sinkovich@vindy.com




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