Schenectady County

Police bust up Friday night melee near Schenectady festival

City and state police fought with a group of more than 100 youths Friday night at the close of St. A

City and state police fought with a group of more than 100 youths Friday night at the close of St. Anthony’s Festa, using pepper spray on one and arresting three, police said today.

At least 20 officers tried to disperse the youths, who also fought with each other and jumped on vehicles parked near the annual festival on Seward Place and Union Street, said police spokesman Lt. Brian Kilcullen.

“Some individuals refused to leave and continued their riotous behavior and were placed under arrest,” Kilcullen said.

Officers used pepper spray on Antwone J. Gardner, 16, of Schenectady, and charged him with resisting arrest and unlawful assembly, both misdemeanors, and disorderly conduct, a violation, Kilcullen said.

Court papers said Gardner fought with officers attempting to place handcuffs on him. He also allegedly refused commands to disperse and “engaged in violent and tumultuous behavior,” the documents stated.

Zaquan J. Walley, 16, of Schenectady, also was charged with resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. He allegedly punched Assistant Police Chief Jack Falvo in the chest and fought with officers trying to place handcuffs on him, court papers said.

A third youth, Ekeem O.S. Williams, 16, of Schenectady, was charged with unlawful assembly and disorderly conduct.

The incidents allegedly occurred at Roger Hull Place and Seward Place, starting around 11 p.m.

St. Anthony’s rector, the Rev. John Medwid, did not return a call this afternoon.

Kilcullen said police had limited resources with which to deal with the incident and would have charged more youths if they had more officers at the scene.

“Given the resources we had, those were the ones we could safely take into custody,” he said. “Our intent was to send everyone on their way.”

No one was injured, Kilcullen said, although police had to decontaminate Gardner, who was hit by pepper spray. He said he did not believe the youths were part of organized gangs.

Kilcullen said the city placed added officers at the festival on Saturday and Sunday and there were no more arrests on those days.

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