RAVENA — As local lawmakers consider a curfew to police young adults, details surrounding a recent melee involving as many as 25 people have come to light.
A previous fight between two Ravena teenagers over a bicycle rim reignited when they met later that evening on Thursday, Jan. 2. The fight escalated to a “large number of people fighting in the street” as family and friends congregated around 69 Main St. Both Coeymans Police and Albany County Sheriff deputies were dispatched shortly after 9 p.m. According to the report, they were warned that a gun was possibly at the scene.
The village of approximately 3,200 residents had suffered through a string of unruly behavior in recent months. Vandalism, fights, disorderly conduct and harassment were some of the issues one village board member described as the local climate prior to the January 2 fight. On separate occasions, the village Christmas tree was reportedly damaged along with other trees throughout the village. Signage for the Ravena Coeyman Selkirk Community Library was also damaged, but has since been repaired.
According to a redacted copy of the incident report first obtained by the Friends of Coeymans Facebook group and later verified by Spotlight News, the two unnamed teenagers were separated from a physical altercation earlier that day. The two, however, allegedly made contact with each other to meet.
“This eventually led to friends and family on both sides becoming involved and also attempting to fight one another,” as stated in the incident report. Both Coeymans police and county deputies struggled to separate the fight, at one point attempting to place each party on opposite sides of the street. “The crowd size on both sides continued to grow as calls were placed to other family and friends who were not at the scene, to show up and engage in the incident,” as stated in the report.
No gun was reportedly found, but the incident report further describes the confusion of the situation as the reporting officer reveals how one 14-year-old was mistaken for an adult. The boy, described as six feet one inch tall and over 200 pounds, was mistaken for a man as he allegedly threw punches in a small crowd of juveniles. Police took him to the ground by hand, handcuffed and detained him on the scene. He was later released to his father without injury, but only after everything was over.
New York State and Bethlehem police later responded to help disperse the crowd and lead residents back inside their homes.
No one was arrested that evening, but Coeymans Police identified five adults who were each later issued a ticket. They are each to appear in village court to answer one count of disorderly conduct.
One week after the fight, the Coeymans Town Board unanimously voted in favor to have the Coeymans Police Department and Albany County Sheriff’s Office provide increased coverage within the town. Town and village lawmakers later met in a public workshop to discuss the benefits of a curfew.
Michael Hallisey is managing editor of Spotlight Newspapers.