The Fairview Heights Police Department has completed a review of the incident which occurred at Sky Zone on June 26, 2021. Response to resistance reviews are routinely done within the department. The Command Staff committed many hours in reviewing several videos, conducting witness interviews, and coordinating the inquiry to ensure every step of the investigative process was taken. On June 29, 2021, the Mayor and Chief of Police requested additional assistance from outside entities to ensure transparency.
The Illinois State Police provided their assistance by reviewing the completeness and thoroughness of our internal review. They have done so and found no issues with the manner in which we conducted our process.
The O’Fallon Metro East NAACP branch also reviewed the videos regarding the incident at Sky Zone. They believe the officer(s) demonstrated restraint while trying to break up the altercations. While some initially shared images made it appear the officer was improperly striking one of the participants; the branch observed the officer merely striking the hands/forearms of one participant to break the grip of another individual’s hair. The results of this review were also coordinated with the NAACP Illinois State Conference Criminal Justice Chair.
The FHPD has determined the officer’s response to this volatile and dangerous situation, not only fell within the department’s training and use of force policy, but they exhibited a tremendous amount of restraint, concern for all parties involved, and utilized appropriate de-escalation techniques.
The allegation that an officer struck an individual in the head has been proven to be completely false. The strikes were to the forearms and wrist of an individual who refused to let go of their grip on another individual’s hair.
These officers were surrounded by a large crowd. Individuals from this crowd were rushing into the altercations and attempting to do harm to the combatants and/or the officers. One officer was dragged to the ground and another had equipment stolen. At least one individual was encouraging the crowd to do harm to an officer. It was imperative the officers separate and remove these combatants from the scene as soon as possible. As a result of the swift actions of all officers on scene, there were no reports of injury or property damage.
At the conclusion of the internal review, the videos and findings were shared with the mother of one of the juveniles who participated in the altercation.
We hope this review will bring closure to any misperceptions surrounding the incident. The Fairview Heights Police Department pledges to maintain our dedication to provide our citizens and visitors with the utmost professionalism and unbiased police service.