Protests follow viral video of Pa. teen in police chokehold


NORRISTOWN, Pa. (CNN Newsource) – Hundreds of students and parents in Norristown, Pennsylvania are protesting alleged police brutality.

This, after they say Norristown officers used excessive force when breaking up multiple fights at a church carnival over the weekend.

The carnival is St. Francis of Assisi’s biggest fundraiser every year but now Father James Goerner says they may be forced to make changes to the event.

“It is extremely disturbing and upsetting and frustrating,” he said.

He’s talking about the viral cell phone video of a Norristown police officer placing a teen girl in a chokehold at the church’s annual carnival. Another teen girl can be seen punching that same officer in the face.

Police initially responded Saturday night to break up a fight between two groups of teen girls. Officers threatened to use pepper spray, but the crowd broke up before that happened.

Father Goerner says the carnival company hired Norristown Police.

He says changes could be on the way, including added security and an earlier end time.

“What is it that we want to do going forward? Do we want to continue to have the fundraiser? Do we want to replace it with some other kind of fundraiser?”

Shortly after Father Goerner’s interview, over a hundred Stewart Middle School students marched about a block down W. Marshall Street to the church as part of a school walkout in protest of what they call police brutality.

“That’s not how you’re supposed to put a lady under arrest. Not at all,” Qwaderia Johnson said.

The mother of the teen in the chokehold, Alisha Bates, is among several parents now calling for an independent investigation.

“I still see it in my mind, and I hear the people screaming and the terror in their voice because of how afraid they were,” she said.

Several teens were arrested that night. All but one have been released.

“We just all need community support and we need the community to come together in this situation,” said Ethiopia Daley, the aunt of the teen still in a juvenile facility.

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