GLENS FALLS — Glens Falls Police detectives are looking into whether anyone should face criminal charges for the Friday night brawl that left a Glens Falls Police officer injured and out of work, and they are looking for whatever videos members of the public took of the fracas.
Glens Falls Police Officer John Norton suffered unspecified injuries that kept him out of work through Monday, but Glens Falls Police Chief Tony Lydon said he hoped Norton could return as soon as Tuesday. He did not suffer any broken bones.
Lydon said Norton believed he was knocked unconscious as he tried to break up a fight between players and has limited recollection as to what happened.
“He thinks he hit his head because he doesn’t recall much of what happened,” the chief said.
At least one referee was also knocked down as the brawl broke out in the gym’s southeast corner during the third quarter of a boys basketball game between Glens Falls and Hudson Falls. It appears some spectators became involved and the scuffle spilled into an adjacent hallway.
No charges had been filed as of Monday, but the Police Department has assigned its detective division to try to find out what happened and whether anyone should be charged. Lydon said no one had filed any complaints with police seeking charges as of Monday morning.
Under state Penal Law, it is a felony to injure a police officer, however.
Some videos that show the tail end of the fracas have been shared on social media and on poststar.com, but they don’t seem to show what started the strife.
Lydon said the Police Department would also like to see any videos of the melee that any fans or either school may have. Teams routinely videotape their games for instructional purposes. It was unclear whether any school surveillance cameras may have captured what happened.
Anyone with information can call police at 518-761-3840.
Norton was working for the school district at the time, as the district pays off-duty police officers to work as security in uniform during sporting events. Those security practices will be reviewed, the chief said.
“That’s going to be looked at. Policies are probably going to have to change because of this,” he said.
Glens Falls school Superintendent Paul Jenkins said he did not believe the school would be changing its security policies, as the district believed “our staff (chaperones, coaches, and administrators) as well as the staff from Hudson Falls did a good job in diffusing the situation as quickly as possible.”
He said punishment for the players involved was being reviewed.
“There were players from each team that were ejected from the game that night who will be suspended from the next game, and we are doing our own internal investigation to see if there will be any further action taken with any other members of the team,” Jenkins wrote.
Jenkins also praised the Glens Falls student body for not getting involved in the fight.
Rob Girard, coach of the Glens Falls boys basketball team said in a text message that he cannot comment on any internal disciplinary issues. He added that it was a very unfortunate incident and that they have taken care of it on their end and are moving forward.
Vince Medici, athletic director at Hudson Falls High School, said school staff were reviewing videos to see who did what before deciding penalties. The school planned to follow the Section II protocol, he said.
“If there was a positive to the situation, the coaches did a great job de-escalating it quickly,” Medici said.
Lydon said he was particularly surprised that the officials allowed the game to continue after the fight. The referees did meet with both coaches after the altercation, and it was decided the game would be finished.