Colerain police say this video provides 'valuable context' to student scuffle

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - There is a plenty of video of a tangle between officers and students this week at Northwest Passage Alternative School. On Thursday, Colerain police said some of that video provides valuable context to the incident.

Colerain police say officers responded to a call for an "officer in need of assistance" May 8 at the school. They say the call was to break up a fight.

Hamilton County deputies have said the incident began with a student threatening to spit in a staffer's face. They said the student raised his fist at a deputy serving as a school resource officer that day, prompting a scuffle.

"Breaking up fights is one of the incidents where officers are most likely to be injured," a Thursday release from Colerain police reads. "The state-mandated training for such incidents include, when necessary, pushing back aggressive bystanders who may pose a risk of injury to an officer who has his back turned to the bystander."

In that release, Colerain police describe their version of the scene: "During the incident a crowd gathered, requiring officers to address both the original incident and the potentially volatile crowd."

Chief Mark Denney says officers have specific procedures to follow in such instances to ensure the safety of everyone involved.

"Policing is dangerous work and we are well-trained to minimize potential danger to officers, suspects, and bystanders," Denney said. "That includes keeping crowds a safe distance back, especially when officers are otherwise engaged and unable to track what's happening around them."

This week, FOX19 obtained video from the incident in which an officer interacts with one of the females filming the incident, and appears to take a swipe at the phone.

Here's the snippet from Thursday's release that addresses that interaction:

It's a best practice and a fundamental part of police training to keep bystanders clear while officers respond to a situation.

"The responding officers followed procedure and repeatedly gave clear instructions to the crowd, but the person recording the incident refused to comply," Denney said. "Given the vulnerability inherent in the situation the officers had no choice but to react and ensure the safety of officers and other bystanders."

The release goes onto suggest that cameras provide a narrow perspective of such incidents. It then points to video from an alternative angle that they say gives a better perspective of what transpired.

Below, you see two views from the incident. The second angle is the one police said Thursday they'd like to highlight.

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