Ocean City Today

Video shows OCPD officer, NJ teen in fight

Internal affairs department finds two sergeants acted within scope of policies
By Brian Gilliland | Oct 19, 2017

(Oct. 20, 2017) OCPD public information officer Lindsay Richard confirmed this week that a video posted to a private Facebook group showing a police officer scuffling with someone on Sept. 29 incident is genuine. In the meantime, the department’s internal affairs department has cleared the officers of any wrongdoing.

The cellphone video, too dark to be reproduced faithfully, shows one of two OCPD sergeants, Shawn Jones or Frank Wrench, repeatedly punching a suspect, later identified as Craig Schultz, 19, from Bellmawr, New Jersey.

Richard did not identify which officer was which in the video.

The clip, apparently taken via cellphone, begins in complete darkness and resolves into the officer and Schultz grappling, with only the officer landing several punches to Schultz’s head and face. Schultz does not appear to throw any punches himself.

A small crowd is visible, and at one point another bystander apparently gets too close to the scuffle, so the officer throws a short kick in the bystander’s direction, moving the person back.

The officer not engaged in the altercation is seen moving the crowd, including the person taking the video, away from the struggle without physically touching anyone in the recording.

The person taking the video ended the session by telling the officers he got it all on video. Attempts to reach the videographer for comment were unsuccessful.

Richard said the resort’s internal affairs department was aware of the video and the particular incident.

“The department was aware of the use of force and viewed the video the same night that the incident occurred. The officer’s use of force against this suspect, who was actively resisting arrest, is consistent with his training and complies with our department policies regarding use of force,” she said. “We feel the level of force the officer used during this incident is consistent with policy and training.”

According to the statement of probable cause, dated Sept. 29 and filed by Sgt. Jones, the incident began around 10 p.m. on 57th Street as the officers arrested two other suspects for disorderly conduct.

Jones said there was a moderate-sized crowd and the officers had cleared a section of the sidewalk to process the arrestees and wait for transport.

Jones said he observed Schultz approach the area, looking like he intended to walk through the scene. Stopping him, Jones said he informed Schultz that he needed to keep his distance.

Jones said Schultz told him the officer could not give him an order to remain off a public sidewalk. According to Jones, Schultz then began to incite the crowd and continue the argument.

Schultz then lost the argument and was arrested for obstructing and hindering an officer as well as failure to obey a lawful order.

Jones was joined by Wrench as Jones informed Schultz he was under arrest.

Jones described the altercation, in its entirety, as follows:

“Schultz tried to back away from me, I grabbed his shirt and when I did so Schultz continued to back away from me. I was able to pull Schultz toward me and Sgt. Wrench and I were able to grab Schultz by his arms.

“Schultz tensed his body, he twisted away from the officers and refused to comply with the officers’ commands to give them his hands and stop resisting. After a brief struggle, Sgt. Wrench and I were able to get handcuffs on Schultz and complete the arrest.”

Schultz is scheduled to appear in Ocean City District Court on Nov. 11.

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