WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- A Westchester County police officer was hospitalized Thursday night after his attempt to break up a fight between two soccer teams provoked players to kick and punch the officer until he was knocked down on the Saxon Woods field.
The officer managed to make one call for backup around 10:20 p.m. before losing his radio in the skirmish, according to Captain Thomas Gleason, commander of the patrol service.
The fight between approximately 30 players continued until the officer pulled a taser off of his belt and shocked a man who had kicked him in the head.
"At that point the fighting stopped," said Gleason. "Were just thankful that our officer had a taser to employ because Id be afraid of what would have happened had he not."
Police from the Westchester County Department and three other local departments arrived within five minutes, however, several players had left the park.
Eighteen men were arrested and charged with first-degree riot, a felony. Two of the players --
Alvaro Melendez and Victor Hernandez --- were also charged with second-degree assault for allegedly hitting the officer.
The others include: Ferdi Bori, Altin Haxhrai, Luis Montoya, Saul Corado, Julio Apodaca, Enrique Rodriguez, Elmer Fuentes, Christian Dominquez, Maricio Chaparro, Arturo Barajas, Juan Novoa, Nhemias Linares, Jose Barajas, Jose Gonzalez, Johncarlos Valencia, and Pedro Pazos.
The Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency had "detainers" on Ferdi Bori and Jose Gonzalez.
The officer was treated at the White Plains Hospital and released, according to Gleason.
There have been three similar incidents at the Saxon Woods soccer fields in the past six weeks.
"Small fights have broken out," said Gleason. "Not to this magnitude, but small scuffles... The incidents in the past, once an officer intervened, [they] stopped."
Two soccer games scheduled after Thursday's brawl were canceled. Next week Westchester's Department of Parks will study the incidents and consider revoking related permits, according to Gleason.
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