CAMDEN: Crackdown In Cracktown


Camden school officials plan to investigate student allegations that police [NOT pictured] used excessive force to quell a cafeteria brawl that injured five students [NOT pictured] and a security officer Monday at Camden High.

School investigators want to know whether police sprayed Mace and struck students with clubs during the melee, which shut down Camden’s largest high school, School Board President Philip E. Freeman said.

At least 17 students were arrested, and more charges are possible, officials said.

“There’s a whole lot we need to find out,” Freeman said yesterday. “These are very serious allegations.”

Teresa Sicard Archambeault, a Camden police spokeswoman, said police were authorized to use Mace in such situations to control unruly crowds, but she said police did not use Mace on Monday. She also denied student allegations that police used stun guns.

“This is everyday life in Camden,” Ogletree said while walking home yesterday with a blue sling on her arm. She said she was one of five students treated for injuries from the disturbance.

District officials plan to interview students, teachers and staff members to try to find out what prompted the fight, and whether police or students used Mace, Freeman said. It seemed unlikely that stun guns were used, he said.

Freeman said he was alarmed by photographs showing police officers with clubs in their hands.

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