Two Charleston police officers reprimanded after internal probe into brawl caught on YouTube

In this frame grab from a YouTube video by pat22nasty, Charleston Police Officer John Nacy gets between two women starting a fight outside the Bridgeview Village apartments on North Romney Street. The video sparked eight arrests and a probe into the officer's actions. (PROVIDED/YOUTUBE)

Two Charleston police officers have been reprimanded for their handling of a brawl outside a downtown apartment complex that was captured in a YouTube video, an agency official said Monday.

The fight Nov. 2 at Bridgeview Village on North Romney Street resulted from an earlier dispute between women who lived there and others from outside the community.

Officer Jonathan Nacy at first tried to separate two of the women, telling them that they would have to go through him before fighting. Instead, they went around him and started to punch, slap and tug at each other's hair, the video showed.

Nacy, who had been working an off-duty security job at the former public housing complex, called for help, but no officer ever completed a report about the incident.

Command staffers at the Charleston Police Department instead learned about the fight through a YouTube video titled "The Bayside Brawl," a reference to the community's former name. Uploaded on the day of the flight, the clip has since garnered nearly 18,000 views.

The months-long internal investigation that followed recently resulted in a one-day unpaid suspension for Nacy and a letter of reprimand that explained possible repercussions if a similar incident were to happen, Deputy Chief Tony Elder said.

A supervisor who arrived at the scene, Sgt. Anthony Boswell, also received a similar letter for not requiring Nacy to fill out an incident report.

Elder said the officers had decided not to file the document because no property was damaged and because they could not identify a clear victim of the melee.

"We would have liked to have a report filed simply because of how large the crowd was and the propensity for something to happen later on," he said.

Eight people ranging in age from 18 to 38 were arrested because of the video and charged with disorderly conduct.

Three of them were later found guilty of the misdemeanor in Charleston Municipal Court. The results of the five other cases were not immediately available, though some were still pending.

One of the defendants, 30-year-old Crystal Jones of North Charleston, had engaged in a Facebook conversation that challenged Bridgeview residents to an in-person meeting to settle their tiff.

Jones had faulted Nacy for not doing enough to defuse the argument before fists started to fly. A municipal judge later found her guilty of disorderly conduct.

Bridgeview residents also had complained that the police should have dispersed the crowd when they first called 911.

But the internal probe revealed that officers had not seen a fight before the one shown in the YouTube video, Elder said Monday.

"With the first few calls they got, (Nacy) never found a fight or any type of altercation," Elder said.

Charleston attorney David Aylor represents another defendant, a 25-year-old woman whose charge remains unresolved.

The woman had not been involved in the dispute that sparked the fracas, Aylor said, but unwittingly got involved when she defended herself from participants' flailing arms.

Aylor said he had seen no evidence indicating that Nacy's actions had resulted in his client's arrest.

"There were a lot of people out there," Aylor said. "She was one of them who got caught in the middle of the uproar."

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