YouTube video of Charleston brawl brings charges for 8, internal inquiry for police officer
A woman tried to keep the peace amid a large crowd about 4 p.m. Saturday outside Bridgeview Village apartments in downtown Charleston.
“Everybody back up,” she yelled, according to a YouTube video of the encounter.
That’s when Officer John Nacy of the Charleston Police Department stepped in. He was working an off-duty security job at the community on North Romney Street.
“Y’all gonna fight, you’re gonna fight me,” Nacy’s voice boomed, encouraging them to do so when he got off work at 6 p.m. “You all go the (expletive) home. We’ve got too many TVs, too many cameras. It’s over with. We done. We done.”
Scolding people in the parking lot as he waved a pencil-like object, the uniformed officer stepped between two women. He tried separating the two as their arms flailed around him.
But he stepped aside as fists flew. More women joined the fray as they slapped, punched and tugged at hair. The officer isn’t seen amid the dozens of women, men and children.
After the brawl, Nacy and officers who arrived to help didn’t complete a report. Two days later, police supervisors learned of the two-part YouTube video, titled “The Bayside Brawl” after the complex’s former name. In a probe based on the footage, at least six women and two men face criminal charges.
Nacy also is the focus of an internal investigation. He remains on duty, but Deputy Chief Tony Elder said Thursday that the officer’s initial attempt to calm the women was “not acceptable.”
“The manner in which he handled it and the way he spoke, it’s not appropriate,” Elder said. “But what he’s doing outside the picture, we have to gather those facts.”
Published by YouTube user pat22nasty, the two videos totaling nearly five minutes had garnered 5,000 views Thursday night. The user refers to the “Bayside Manor pro-JECTS,” the complex that preceded the privately run Bridgeview Village.
The 300-home community has seen homicides and drug deals gone awry. The police have pushed back by frequently patrolling the area and erecting barriers.
What brought about Saturday’s melee isn’t clear.
Bridgeview residents implicated in the fracas will be evicted, and the outsiders from North Charleston and West Ashley will be on a “ban list,” police spokesman Charles Francis said. The eight people, who face a charge of disorderly conduct, range in age from 18 to 38. Two were arrested Monday and three on Thursday. Three others were still wanted.
David Aylor, who represents one of the women, said his client had been defending herself.
“She in no way brought on the altercation,” Aylor said. “People who did not live in the community came there and brought trouble.”
Within seconds of the fight’s start, others got involved. One woman was stripped of her shirt, exposing her bra.
“Get ’em,” someone yelled.
The woman filming the video jumped onto a tan Chrysler 200. “I’m on top of the car,” she said.
In the second video, the brawlers rested at first. Their yelling was less frenzied.
Nacy again appeared and tried to corral a woman. But she slipped from his grasps. “Come on,” Nacy said.
The amateur videographer turned the camera on herself and said, “It’s (expletive) going down.” Another woman clutched a bawling toddler.
Someone noted that the police were coming as more punching and slapping ensued. A man held up a smartphone and filmed the second round.
“(Expletive) ’em up!” a man shouted.
More officers trickled in. But still under investigation, Elder said, is whether Nacy had radioed for the backup contingent and what the officers saw when they arrived.
Near the video’s end, Nacy led a woman away with her hands behind her back. She was not arrested that day.
Reach Andrew Knapp at 937-5414 or twitter.com/offlede.