An Ambridge police officer who tased a teenager following Friday night’s high school football game acted in accordance with policy, a preliminary investigation by the department’s chief has determined.
Ambridge Interim Police Chief Mark Romutis told BeaverCountian.com his review of the incident has found no wrongdoing by officers.
“We received numerous calls after the (football) game, with reports of disorderly juveniles about three or four blocks down Duss Avenue,” Romutis explained.
“There supposedly was some kind of fight. Four officers went down and tried to disperse the crowd. (The officers) were trying to get the story when someone said ‘gun,’ and one young man takes off running from the group … He had a jacket or something wrapped around his right hand.”
Romutis said an African American officer attempted to grab on to the 14-year-old black male subject.
“He broke free from (the officer), who yelled for the other officers to stop him,” Romutis continued.
“Thinking he had a gun, the officers started pursuit of him.”
Romutis said an officer deployed his taser out of concern for other juveniles in the area, causing the teenager to collapse onto the street.
No gun was discovered.
“A preliminary investigation shows everything does seem to be within policy,” Romutis said.
In a post to social media over the weekend, the boy’s mother alleged her son suffered “a broken jaw, missing teeth, and stitches,” as a result of hitting the pavement. She went on to question whether her son’s race may have been a factor during the incident.
A family member of the teen told BeaverCountian.com they would be making no further public statements until after they have retained an attorney.
Romutis is asking anyone who has video of the incident to contact the Ambridge Borough Police Department.
Ambridge police do not currently have body cameras, although Romutis said he and his officers are in favor of them and have been working to secure the necessary funding.
Romutis said a final decision has not yet been made as to whether charges will be filed against the teen.
“The officer who did this is sick over it,” Romutis concluded.
“He told me, ‘I have kids too. I didn’t want that to happen.'”