Three IUP students and two other people are facing charges in relation to incidents that took place during the boozy student celebration of St. Patrick’s Day three weekends ago.
According to Indiana Borough police, four of the five took part in a moving fight that was well documented by reveling students and widely posted to social media sites, including YouTube. The fifth person, police said, taunted officers — and recorded himself doing so — as the officers tried to disperse a large crowd that had spilled out of off-campus student homes and onto South Seventh Street.
Although there was plenty of commotion throughout the borough during the three-day party weekend, which began March 7, it was the gathering of that crowd on March 9 that became the focal point of the weekend’s ills.
Some estimates put the crowd at a few hundred people, many of whom were drinking. And among those in the crowd, police said, was Dominic Devon Brown-Haley, 19, of Aliquippa. Police said Haley got into a fight with an Aliquippa juvenile, whose identity police did not disclose.
The fight was recorded by several bystanders, who uploaded video to YouTube. The videos show two young men throwing punches as a crowd gathers around and cheers them on.
As the fight went on, it enveloped two others, Jay Fisher, 19, of Huntingdon Valley, and Michael Joseph Ellwood, 22, of Pittsburgh. Both are IUP students, according to police.
The four are each facing a felony count of riot and misdemeanor counts of disorderly conduct, failure to disperse and obstructing a highway.
In a separate incident, police have charged Caleb Gage Deuschle, 19, of Chambersburg. Police said Deuschle taunted officers as they tried to disperse the crowd.
In charging documents, police said Deuschle, in a video posted to YouTube, could be heard yelling obscenities as he followed officers while recording them.“Deuschle continued his tirade by continuing to scream (obscenities). … Deuschle even turned his phone around and recorded (himself) screaming at police,” according to court papers.Police said they caught up to Deuschle through a state police trooper who had identified him. Upon questioning, Deuschle admitted to following officers around, police said.
“Deuschle advised that he did follow officers around during the course of the South Seventh Street riot, recording the incident on his Apple iPhone. He advised that he never meant anything by what he was saying and advised that he was only repeating lyrics from a rap song. When asked about this alleged song, he advised that he was just acting stupid.”
He is facing two counts of riot and single counts of disorderly conduct, failure to disperse, obstructing highways and making terroristic threats.
Deuschle is an IUP student, police said.
Police said their investigation remains open, and it’s possible they will file charges against others.
But in the meantime, they’ve begun pursuing prosecution against the five, most of whom were arraigned before District Judge Guy Haberl on Monday. Haberl released them on a $50,000 unsecured bond. An arrest warrant has been issued for Brown-Haley.
Ellwood and Fisher are being represented by Robert Dougherty, of Indiana.
Dougherty said that even though the fight was documented and has been widely viewed, he urged the public not to jump to implicate his clients. He said the circumstances surrounding the incident are not yet clear, and even the criminal complaint is vague about what crimes the two are alleged to have committed.
In charging documents, police said they were aided in their investigation by KDKA-TV reporter Christine D’Antonio, who appears to have provided information that helped them find the source of one video recording on which charges are being based.
Police said that while D’Antonio was in the borough reporting on the incident, a person, a Patrick McCafferty, offered to give D’Antonio footage he had recorded, which she later used in a report.
When police saw her report and the footage, they called her to ask who had given to it to her, they said. Although her report identified the source as a Pat McCafferty, she passed along his email address to police, police said.
They used the address to help track him down and ask for his help. But McCafferty refused to cooperate. So, police applied for a warrant to search his apartment and executed it on March 13.
Police said they seized three laptop computers, two cellphones and a thumb drive from McCafferty’s apartment. One of the computers had the footage police were seeking.
Police said McCafferty is being considered a witness.