Essex Police apologize for citing man following Pearl St. fight

Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 11:31 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 23, 2021 at 6:37 AM EDT
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ESSEX JUNCTION, Vt. (WCAX) - The Chittenden County State’s Attorney is reviewing a case and potential charges after the Essex Police Department says it messed up in responding to a fight on Pearl Street on July 13.

Local residents gathered outside the police department Thursday night saying they were upset about the way the situation was handled.

Police say several people were involved in a fight and that several assaults took place. Brandon Williams was the only one charged, but now that citation of aggravated assault has been taken back.

Police say they should have done more investigating before citing him. Officers say Williams gave them video that shows a woman using a racial slur at him, indicating a racially motivated component to her actions.

In a statement Thursday, Essex Police Police Chief Ron Hoague says he didn’t want the incident to mar the communities relations with police:

“The Essex Department has been working with community members this past year in an effort to better serve everyone in our community, especially those most impacted by racism and inequity. We have engaged our public in conversation and efforts like never before and we realize that incidents such as this indicate we have more work to do. We further agree that there is no room for hate of any kind in this community and we will do whatever it takes to root that out. Finally, we recognize the concern this has created in the BIPOC community, and the Essex Community at large and we want to reassure that we are committed to our core values of Courage, Integrity, Respect, and the vision we have co-created with the Essex Community over the past seven months.”

The Chittenden State’s Attorney will now be figuring out the appropriate charges for all involved and that could include a hate crime. The Vermont Attorney General’s Office Hate Crimes unit is reviewing the case as well.

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Police investigate fight in Essex Junction

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