FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – July 23, 2020
Tannersville, PA – In the early evening of Wednesday, July 8, 2020, the Pocono Township Police Department received a call from Aquatopia Indoor Waterpark at Camelback Resort requesting police assistance in response to a group of adult individuals violating waterpark rules, harassing other patrons, not cooperating with security and causing a disturbance in the resort.
Upon the police officers’ arrival, certain members of the group berated and used vulgar language directed toward the police. The group was informed that Camelback Resort wanted them off the premises due to their inappropriate behavior and that their failure to peaceably comply would result in their arrests for trespassing. Repeated requests were made, and the adults failed to comply with those requests. The police officers advised three of the adults that they were being placed under arrest and would be escorted from the facility.
An altercation ensued when the police attempted to place the three adults under arrest, handcuff them and remove them from the facility. During the altercation, two of the adults resisted arrest.
As evidenced by security camera footage and witness testimony, one adult male (age 24) resisted arrest, wrestled himself away from the officer who was attempting to restrain him and charged a second officer assisting in the arrest. At that point, this adult was taken down to the floor and the officers attempted to place handcuffs on him as he continued to resist arrest.
During the attempt to have this male comply, the officers used the force necessary to gain compliance.
Following this incident, two of the responding officers were placed on administrative leave while the event was thoroughly reviewed by the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office and an independent, third-party investigator retained by the Township. On July 17, 2020, the District Attorney’s Office concluded that the arrests were lawful and that the force used to effectuate the arrests was reasonable and not excessive.
The third party, independent investigator reached the same conclusions as the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office relating to the officers’ use of force during this incident.
On Monday, July 20, 2020, the two officers were removed from administrative leave and returned to full duty.
A short video clip of only a small portion of the altercation was shared on social media by one of the guests. This shared video neither shows nor represents the entire context of this incident. To view footage of the actions of these adults preceding the social media video, please click here.
“Pocono Township has full faith and confidence in the integrity and honor of our police officers. We are pleased that both investigations of the Camelback incident concluded that our officers exercised professional restraint in dealing with confrontational, antagonistic patrons who repeatedly ignored peaceful requests and resisted arrest,” stated Pocono Township Police Chief Kent Werkheiser.
Pending the investigation of the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office, the charges against the adults involved were withdrawn. Upon conclusion of the investigation, the District Attorney’s Office instructed that all charges should be refiled, including an additional charge of aggravated assault against a police officer filed against the 24-year-old male.