Police made a number of arrests and used pepper spray to disperse the burgeoning crowd.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A Melee broke out on Melville Street immediately following the conclusion of the first 3rd Thursday street fair of the season, resulting in extensive crowd control measures and multiple arrests.
According to the Police Department, the incident initially stemmed from a fight between two young women on the small side street just off North Street, then spiraled into chaos when two officers responding on the scene became surrounded by a large crowd of youths.
Capt. David Granger estimated that a crowd of more than 100 people, mostly teenagers, converged around the initial disturbance.
"They tried to break up the fight. A mob mentality took over, from the large crowd. Multiple arrests were made," he said.
Well over a dozen officers arrived on the scene, including three plain-clothed officers who emerged from an unmarked police vehicle as screaming teens ran in all directions. Pepper spray was used to push back the disorganized crush of onlookers, and several youths were seen leaving the scene showing visible signs of facial spraying. At least three young men were seen being subdued and handcuffed in the street and adjacent parking lot.
A number of the young people present at the disturbance voiced the opinion that excessive force was used in containing the initial incident.
"After 3rd Thursday, they told us we needed to get off the street, so we did, and there's some stupid people fighting," said one young girl, a relative of one of those arrested. "My nephew's standing there looking around, and nine cops tackled him for no reason. All of a sudden they're running around pepper spraying everybody."
Police ordered all pedestrians to clear Melville Street and intersecting North Pearl Street, opposite the Boys & Girls Club, a process made more complicated by a continuing stream of curious pedestrians from among the large crowd still circulating on North Street. The street remained closed for approximately a half-hour in the aftermath of the affray.
Granger said he would classify the incident as "a large disturbance" rather than a riot.
Aggressive Pittsfield Fox Tests Positive For Rabies
The attacks happened in the vicinity of upper Williams Street, Pine Grove Drive and Harryel Street on May 4 and 5.
"This positive diagnosis does not mean that there is going to be an outbreak of rabies within the city," said Merridith O'Leary, the public health director. She does advise, however, to make sure pets are properly vaccinated.
The Pittsfield Health Department also suggests for people to not keep wild animals as pets, to avoid feeding your pets outside, and to securely cover your garbage.
There is no evidence that rabies is increasing in Pittsfield, in Western Massachusetts, or anywhere else, according to O'Leary. The state Department of Public Health issues quarterly reports on numbers of rabid animals and in the first quarter (Jan. 1 – March 30) of 2012, out of the 14 specimens that were sent to the lab for testing from Berkshire County, all specimens tested negative for the rabies virus.
"In Massachusetts, raccoons are the animal most likely to carry rabies. Rabid raccoons are most likely to infect another raccoon; however, because the virus causes animals to behave abnormally, they may sometimes attack another species and spread the virus," she said. "This is termed a 'spill over' event and it is extremely rare to see a 'spill over' event result in more rabies cases."
Rabies is a very serious disease that affects the brain and spinal cord of fur bearing mammals, including humans. Though rabies is usually a disease of wild animals, it can spread from an infected animal to a person. Transmission of the rabies virus occurs only when the saliva from a rabid animal is infectious and if a person or animal is exposed to that saliva from a bite, in a scratch, or in their eyes, nose or mouth.
Anyone who may have had direct contact with saliva from a fox or any other wild animal, should first wash out the wound with soap and water for ten minutes, then immediately contact their health-care provider, the Health Department, or state Department of Public Health at 617-983-6800.
Anyone who may have witnessed aggressive behavior by a fox in this area, or who may have been exposed to this animal, should contact the animal control officers at 413-448-9700, Ext 335.
Pittsfield Police Put Down Aggressive Fox
Pittsfield Police On: 06:32PM / Monday May 07, 2012
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — An aggressive fox was put down over the weekend after several attacks.
The Pittsfield Police Department's Patrol and Animal Control Units responded to multiple calls involving an aggressive fox in the outer Williams Street area on Friday night, May 4, and Saturday morning, May 5.
The department responded to or investigated three separate incidents involving one dog and two people who were bitten.
During the Saturday morning incident, the fox was put down by patrol officers and the remains have been transported to the state lab for testing.
Anyone who may have witnessed aggressive behavior by a fox in this area, or who may have been exposed to this animal, should contact the Department's Animal Control Officers at 413-448-9700, Ext 335.
Pittsfield Bank Robbery Suspect Nabbed in Boston
Staff Reports On: 03:49PM / Thursday April 05, 2012
Updated Friday, April 6, 2012 at 2:54 p.m.:
Brenda Santos had a not guilty plea Friday morning in Central Berkshire District Court on a single count unarmed robbery. Santos is being accused of robbing Greylock Federal Credit Union on March 30.
Judge Rita Koenigs ordered that Santos be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $250,000 cash or $2.5 million surety bail. Santos is scheduled to return to court on May 4.
Brenda Santos, 22, and her alleged accomplice in the Greylock robbery, Brandon Wood, 31, were arraigned Wednesday in Brookline District Court.
Both are described as being homeless in Boston but Wood is believed to be from the Pittsfield area.
Santos is being charged with unarmed robbery of the Greylock branch on Elm Street. Wood is charged with being an accessory before the fact and accessory after the fact of the Greylock robbery.
Santos, Wood and William Curtin, 26, of Dedham, are also facing conspiracy charges, according to the Boston Globe, regarding suspicious activity at two Boston area banks on Wednesday.
The Globe reports that a man wearing a hooded sweat shirt, sunglasses and hat left the Brookline Bank on Beacon Street after being asked to remove his glasses but met with an individual dressed in similar fashion outside. Another Beacon Street bank reported later in the day that a man of the same description was acting suspicious.
Police tracked the suspects to a hotel and found evidence of the Pittsfield bank robbery. Santos was arrested at the same time.
The Boston office of the FBI violent crimes task force and the Brookline Police Department are cooperating in the investigation.
Pittsfield Woman Critically Injured In New York Car Crash
Staff Reports On: 03:28PM / Wednesday April 04, 2012
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A city woman in in critical condition after a three-vehicle collision in upstate New York on Tuesday evening.
According to a report on Masslive.com, Allana Lewis, 27, was taken to Berkshire Medical Center after the 4 p.m. crash in Amenia, N.Y.
New York Police say Lewis was a passenger in a southbound car that was hit head-on while travelling on Route 22. The northbound car was pushed into southbound lane after being rear-ended by a FedEx van.
All three drivers were taken to Sharon Hospital in Sharon, Conn. The other drivers injuries were not considered life threatening. Lewis was later transferred to Berkshire Medical Center, according to MassLive.
The van driver was ticketed for following too closely.