MAHONING COUNTY 4 arrested in riot are out of jail
A family spokesman acknowledged that illegal fireworks were used.
By PATRICIA MEADE
VINDICATOR CRIME REPORTER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Four members of the Morales family, jailed after an illegal fireworks display on the South Side that police said turned into a riot, had to post bonds totaling $72,500 to get out of jail.
The four were arraigned Tuesday in municipal court by Judge Robert P. Milich via video from the Mahoning County jail. They were arrested late Sunday night in the parking lot of Papa Al's, the Morales family business at Market Street and Chicago Avenue.
After court, Yvette Montoyo of Youngstown, a family spokeswoman, said she was very upset by the arrests and called the allegations by police "not true." She alleged that her 12-year-old son, her sister and nephew were beaten up by police.
Jessica Morales, 19, of Boardman said she was holding her 5-month-old son when police used obscenities, told her to leave and sprayed a chemical agent in her face. Morales, who is pregnant, said all police had to do was tell people to get out of the way.
Montoyo said complaints against police will be filed with the Internal Affairs Division. She accused the officers of racism, saying some of them used racial slurs against the Hispanics and blacks who attended the fireworks display.
Lt. Rod Foley, Youngstown Police Department spokesman, said he believes officers acted appropriately and noted five patrolmen were injured at the scene. If complaints are filed with IAD, all allegations will be investigated and reviewed, Foley said.
Four members of the Morales family are accused of assaulting police officers who responded to the fireworks display. The officers needed help around 11 p.m. Sunday dispersing the crowd estimated at several hundred people blocking the Market Street-Chicago Avenue intersection.
When Youngstown police called for assistance, off-duty city police and officers from Austintown, Boardman, Youngstown State University, Mill Creek MetroParks and St. Elizabeth Health Center responded. Police said they had profanities yelled at them and objects thrown at them.
Montoyo said the July Fourth celebration has been held the past five years without any trouble -- and without a permit to shoot off fireworks. She acknowledged to reporters that the fireworks used were illegal but added the way police responded wasn't right.
Released after posting bond Tuesday were:
U Carmelo Morales Jr., 23, of Prestwick Avenue, Boardman, charged with resisting arrest, obstructing official business and two counts of assault. A charge of aggravated riot was not filed. Bond was set at $35,000. Dana C. Guarnieri, assistant city prosecutor, noted that Morales, convicted of criminal simulation, was placed on one year's probation in May. Municipal court records show he was ordered to pay $250 restitution to the Record Industry of America and $250 to the Motion Picture Association of America.
UCarmelo Morales Sr., 40, of Brookwood Road, Boardman, charged with assault, resisting arrest and obstructing official business. A charge of aggravated riot was not filed. Bond was set at $20,000. Guarnieri said Morales' criminal history includes a conviction of mishandling a firearm in a motor vehicle.
U Jonathan Morales, 19, of Market Street, Boardman, charged with aggravated riot and two counts of assault. Bond was set at $15,000.
U Jeanette Morales, 40, of Howard Street, Boardman, charged with conspiracy to escape. A charge of aggravated riot was not filed. Bond was set at $2,500. Police said she removed her 16-year-old son, Jeremy Morales, from the rear of a cruiser after he had been arrested and tried to leave with him.
Her son was arrested on charges of escape, assault, aggravated riot and resisting arrest and taken to the Martin P. Joyce Juvenile Justice Center. An officer used the butt of a shotgun on Morales' left bicep after the boy, attempting to leave, punched the officer, reports show.