Prosecutor investigates alleged use of Mace, force outside Franklin High School dance

By Tiffani N. Garlic
The Star-Ledger
Franklin Twp. Police Chief Craig Novick said he is “heartbroken” about a melee between students and police officers at the high school.

FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP (Somerset) — The Somerset County prosecutor confirmed Wednesday that he is investigating the melee that erupted between students and police officers from six departments outside Franklin Township High School’s homecoming dance last week.

The investigation comes on the heels of a meeting where more than 200 Franklin residents told council members of teenagers sprayed with Mace, beaten, handcuffed and arrested as police tried to break up an altercation between an officer and a student.

Franklin Township Police Chief Craig Novick told the crowd Tuesday that he and his officers were “heartbroken” about the incident.

“We will bring in anybody and everybody independent of this department. We are transparent and we want to get past this, regain your trust and support and move forward,” Novick said.

“I’d like anyone with information to please come forward,” Prosecutor Wayne Forrest said. He added that while he is obtaining video from police cars and school cameras, he is interested in any other photos or video captured that night.

On Friday, Franklin police said a group of students who had left Friday’s dance were denied re-entry by a police officer. When the officer attempted to stop a student from pushing past him, the student shoved the officer and was joined by a group of his friends in attacking the officer, police said. A second officer tried to assist the first officer and began using pepper spray to stop the students from fighting, police said. The second officer called for backup and officers from five other police departments — New Brunswick, Piscataway, Hillsborough, Bound Brook and South Bound Brook — responded. Full story.


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