Ithaca Police arrested a woman on the Commons early Saturday morning, tackling her to the ground in front of a small crowd after they say she hit two officers in the head as they tried to detain another man.
As the Commons filled up with people walking home from bars shortly after last call at 1 a.m., officers on foot saw a man run across the Commons and knock another man to the ground by punching him in the face, Sgt. David Amaro said in a press release on Monday.
Police said they tried to detain the perpetrator, whom they identified as Cadji Furgeson, 26, of Ithaca, at which point a woman began “repeatedly striking” an officer in the head, Amaro said.
Amaro said the woman, who police identified as 22-year-old Rose Degroat, of Ithaca, then hit a second officer in the face.
Police said one officer had headaches and was treated by Bangs Ambulance and the other had cuts on his face and declined treatment.
A Sun reporter witnessed two officers grab Degroat from behind and push her to the ground as she screamed for them to stop and appeared to try to evade their grip and remain standing. A video of the officers taking Degroat to the ground was also posted on Instagram.
Once officers brought Degroat to her stomach on the ground near the Moonies Bar and Nightclub on the Commons, about eight people formed a crowd at the scene, some yelling at the officers to let Degroat go and others recording the incident on their phones.
The crowd stood about five feet away from three officers as one cuffed Degroat’s hands behind her back. One woman recording the incident on her phone yelled that the police were hurting Degroat and told them to “give her some air.” Another asked why an officer’s knee was on the woman’s head.
At one point, a man in the crowd yelled at the police twice to “go ahead” and shoot him, after which one officer took out a stun gun and pointed it at members of the crowd, shouting for them to “get back” and aiming the stun gun’s red laser dot at the chest of the man and at least one other person, according to a video of the arrest recorded by The Sun.
In the Ithaca Police press release, Amaro described the scene as “chaotic” and wrote that “The incident caused numerous bystanders, most of whom were uninvolved in the original incident, to attempt various forms of interference in the officers’ attempts to make the lawful arrests.”
Police charged Degroat with two counts of felony attempted assault in the second degree and a misdemeanor count of resisting arrest. She was brought before Ithaca City Court on Saturday and released on her own recognizance, Amaro said. She is due back in city court on April 17.
After police took Degroat to a police car on Cayuga Street, they also handcuffed a bystander, 21-year-old Riley Johnson of Ithaca, whom they charged with a disorderly conduct violation. Police also charged Furgeson, whose surname they also spelled as Ferguson, with disorderly conduct.
Degroat said in a Facebook message to The Sun that she had not yet spoken with a lawyer and did not have any comment on the incident. Furgeson did not respond to a message seeking comment.
The Ithaca Police Benevolent Association said in a Facebook post: “Thankfully all our members are going to be okay after breaking up a fight on the commons putting themselves in harms way to prevent others from being injured.”