Police in Connecticut were attacked with large chunks of ice, snowballs, and heavy items as they attempted to disperse a large crowd at a bonfire, causing officers to use pepper spray.
The incident took place on Monday, Feb. 15, when East Haven Police officers were dispatched to 113 Bradford Avenue, to assist the East Haven Fire Department with a large crowd burning a large bonfire, said Captain Joseph Murgo.
Dispatch informed responding officers that the crowd was throwing snow and ice balls at Fire Department personnel who were on scene to extinguish the large illegal bonfire, Murgo said.
"With tensions escalating, the crowd began to throw other items at the Fire Department as well as more items into the large fire," he said.
When officers arrived, they made contact with an individual, later identified as Glen Degray, 56. As officers were speaking with Degray, the crowd, who was gathered in the backyard of the residence, began to throw snow, ice, and yell at officers.
"A large piece of ice, which was thrown from the crowd, struck a police cruiser with several people standing near it," Murgo said. "While speaking with officers, Degray threatened to start a riot if the police didn’t leave."
With the crowd growing increasingly hostile, additional units from surrounding agencies were requested. The Branford Police Department, Connecticut State Police, and New Haven Police Departments responded to assist.
As officers were trying to control the crowd, an individual, later identified as Michael Ciarleglio, 33, approached officers from behind. Ignoring the officer’s commands to get back, Ciarleglio lunged at an officer, pushing him out of the way, in an attempt to lunge at another officer who had just arrived on the scene.
As officers were taking Ciarleglio into custody, the crowd began hopping the fence to advance towards the officers while continuing to throw objects, Murgo said.
An East Haven officer was struck in the head with a heavy backpack filled with various items. The officer was not injured. Officers were forced to deploy pepper spray in an effort to keep the crowd back while attempting to make an arrest, Murgo added.
Degray was arrested and charged with inciting a riot and breach of peace.
Ciarleglio was arrested and charged with breach of peace and interfering with an officer.
Ciarleglio and Degray were both transported to the East Haven Police Department where they were processed.
Both individuals were later released on $2,500.00 bonds.
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