Police attacked at Dominican College; 4 students charged in big fight on campus www/privateofficer.com
ORANGEBURG NY April 20 2012— An Orangetown police officer was assaulted Monday night while attempting to make an arrest during a large fight on the Dominican College campus, police said.
Four Dominican students were arrested during the incident and face various charges ranging from disorderly conduct, a violation, to second-degree assault, a felony.
Police said the officer, who suffered several punches to the face, was not seriously injured.
The incident began about 9:45 p.m. at 470 Western Highway in the area between Dominican’s Granito Center and Hertel Hall, officials said.
The fight appears to have erupted when a dispute between a number of the students became physical, officials said. What caused the dispute was not yet clear Tuesday.
Erin deWard, a college spokeswoman, said a fifth person, a former student who had left Dominican, is also believed to have been at the center of the incident, though that person was not charged by police.
By the time officers arrived on the scene, the incident had grown to include more than 100 people, police said.
The large crowd was said to have ignored police instructions, requiring Orangetown police to call on New York State Police, the Rockland County Sheriff’s Office and the Clarkstown Police Department for assistance.
During the melee, Stephanie Paniagua, 18, of Manhattan, is accused of striking the Orangetown officer while he was attempting to arrest one of the other suspects, said Sgt. James Sullivan of the Orangetown police.
The officer, who was said to have been punched in the face several times, was treated for his injuries at the scene.
Paniagua was charged with second-degree assault, a felony, and obstructing governmental administration and resisting arrest, both misdemeanors.
Jamelah Andrew, 19, of Manhattan is accused of spitting on a police officer during the fight, police said. She was charged with obstructing governmental administration, resisting arrest along with disorderly conduct and harassment, both violations.
Also charged were Victor Cosme, 21, of Brooklyn and Stephanie Dowe, 20, of the Bronx.
Cosme was charged with obstructing governmental administration and inciting to riot, both misdemeanors, and disorderly conduct.
Dowe was charged with disorderly conduct.
The incident was effectively handled by the officers on the scene, said Sgt. Sean Russo of the Orangetown police.
“When you have a lot of people in a small area yelling during an incident, they cause a lot of stress and that type of thing leads to people getting hurt,” Russo said.
“It’s fortunate we could get other departments to come assist,” he added.
While the students are subject to the police investigation, deWard said they are also subject to an internal campus investigation, which will ultimately decide their individual fates at Dominican.
According to the college’s student handbook, assault and other disorderly behavior are prohibited and can be punished in a number of ways ranging from fines to outright dismissal from the school.
No conclusions had been reached by school officials Tuesday, deWard said, and Dominican was continuing its investigation.
Paniagua was being held Tuesday in the Rockland County jail pending an appearance in Orangetown Town Court.
Her bail was set at $2,000.
Officials said Andrew was released after posting bail and is due in court at a later date.
Court information for Cosme and Dowe was unavailable.