Fight at Campbell church festival results in four arrests

By Jeanne Starmack

A man who resisted arrest was hit by pepper spray.

CAMPBELL — Fighting at the St. Joseph the Provider Church festival Saturday night resulted in four arrests and prompted the church to charge $5 admission Sunday after 8 p.m.

Sunday’s crowd was peaceful, said the Rev. Michael Swierz, adding that the church might resort to charging admission again next year unless teenagers are accompanied by an adult.

“If we have to, we will,” he said. “Teenagers come when it gets dark, and they chase all the families away.”

The festival is usually free.

It was the second consecutive year that fighting marred the festival, he said — fighting broke out in Friday night’s crowd last year as police were escorting teenagers off the church grounds. The festival, which began Thursday and ran through 11 p.m. Sunday in the church parking lot on Porter Avenue, is a fundraiser for the church and its school, the Rev. Swierz said.

Police reports indicate that two fights broke out, one at 10:15 p.m. and the other at 11 p.m.

Arrested during the first fight was Jaime Hernandez, 18, of Woodland Avenue in Campbell, Tillman Douglas III, 19, of Pasadena Avenue in Youngstown, and Jermaine Richardson, 20, of Hamrock Drive in Campbell.

Douglas and Richardson were taken to the city jail and released on $75 bond.

Hernandez was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

Police said Hernandez kept interfering while an officer attempted to arrest his friend, who was involved in a fight. Another officer told him to step back. When he was told he’d be under arrest for disorderly conduct, he struggled with both officers, and the three ended up on the ground, the police report says. An officer used pepper spray on him.

He was treated by an ambulance crew for the pepper spray and taken to the jail. He was released on a $225 bond.

Around 11 p.m., someone approached an officer and told him another fight was about to break out, the report says. The officer found two people fighting with about 100 people grouped around them. He called for assistance.

Tracy A. Smelley, 20, of Boardman-Canfield Road, was arrested and put in the back of a police cruiser after he was told to back away and would not. He was charged with disorderly conduct and posted $75 bond.

Lowellville, Struthers, Coitsville and Youngstown police assisted after the second fight, said Campbell officer John Gulu. Those departments helped keep order as people left the festival for the night.

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