National News

Video surfaces of woman punched by York police officer; woman arrested for assault on officer

Posted July 4

— A woman and man were arrested by York police Monday morning, but it's part of the arrest that is drawing questions about police procedure.

Melissa Dyann Penn and the man were arrested around 2 a.m. Monday on the 400 block of East Market Street. A video posted to Facebook shows an officer repeatedly striking Penn during the arrest.

The video, which was shared with FOX43, has received more than 34,000 views since it first appeared on social media early Monday morning.

"We just want the public to not rush to judgment," York police Chief Wes Kahley said. "People go on and they post things that they cut out, or what they want people to know and they say things to incite problems and right now, we don't need that. We need to look at the totality of everything that happened and make a determination from there."

Surveillance video from neighboring businesses shows there may be merit to what police are saying. Managers at Pandora's Box Bar & Grill, which is next-door to where the arrests took place, showed their surveillance video to FOX43 Monday, but only released it to police.

"Social media just got the officer punching the girl, but they didn't see the 40 seconds prior to that," Angel Matias, the bar's manager, said.

No fight took place in the bar, Matias said. Instead, the video shows Penn and a man at the bar when another woman says something to the man. Penn, who appeared to be offended, threw a drink on the woman, but security guards separated the women. The unidentified woman left the bar, while Penn and the man went outside. The man can be seen restraining Penn for several minutes before police intervened.

"The police tried their best not to get involved, then finally when they did, the girl resisted and wound up on the floor," Matias said.

Penn has been charged with aggravated assault on a police officer, while the unidentified man was charged with disorderly conduct, Kahley said. The officer seen in the video remains on active duty, and while police are still investigating the matter, Kahley says they have not seen anything so far that violates police procedure.

"Our officers are not going to be a punching bag for anybody," Kahley said. "We expect our officers to go out and treat everybody with respect, treat our citizens professionally and we expect our officers to be treated with respect."

The department plans on releasing the surveillance footage it has acquired in the investigation in the coming days, which may include body camera footage, Kahley said.

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