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Police: 8 teens face riot charges after large brawl with officers

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Authorities say that eight teenagers are facing a variety of charges after a large brawl broke out with police at an apartment complex.

Brick Township police say that about an hour after school let out on Friday a group of people began fighting inside the Maple Leaf Condominium Complex on Sawmill Road. Police say that the responding officers were quickly outnumbered and that the agitators then turned on the officers.

“A large crowd gathered and surrounded my officers and they acted appropriately and ultimately people were arrested,” says Chief Jim Riccio.

One officer suffered cuts on his hand while trying to make an arrest. Backup soon arrived from neighboring police departments from Lakewood, Point Pleasant Borough and Toms River.

Riccio says that 30-40 police officers broke up the crowd of about 20 people. Eight teens under the age of 18 were arrested. He says that the officers handled the situation well and that it could have been worse.

“Their training, their experience, they acted appropriately. I’m very proud of the way they conducted themselves. This could have been much worse but it's only because of their actions and the actions of the backup officers that kept this to a minimum,” Riccio says.

Two people were arrested inside the complex last month on drug and weapons charges. The brawl comes at a time when police are stepping up the Brick street crime units following a pair of shootings near Brick Memorial High School last October – just down the street from the Maple Leaf complex.

“This has been a problem area for some time. We have been addressing it. Some time ago we made it its own district. We also have bike officers in there, people patrolling on foot and our street crimes unit is in there quite frequently,” Riccio says.

Several of the teens have been released, while other remain at the nearby juvenile detention center. They are facing aggravated assault, disorderly conduct, obstruction and riot charges.

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