On Saturday January 1, 2011 at 01:11 a.m., Roselle Park Police received numerous calls of a large fight at 147 West Westfield Avenue (Solar do Minho).
At the scene, officers were directed to a basement level ballroom party where they observed a large disorderly crowd fighting. There was yelling and pushing and a large group started to close in on the officers at the scene. Patrons at the restaurant were not following the officers’ instructions to stand back and step away from the area.
Initial responding officers were surrounded by the disorderly crowd, while the additional officers were attempting to stop several independent fights.
During this time, employees advised that other small individual fights were in progress at an upstairs ballroom party.
Roselle Park officers as well as assisting officers from other agencies, rushed upstairs to stop the fights. At this time several more surrounding agencies were called to the location to help control the crowd.
After several attempts at asking patrons to get their belongings and leave the area, another large group started pushing and yelling.
Officer Richard Gaylord gave numerous orders to one involved male identified as, Paulo F. Santiago, age 41, of Linden, to stop fighting. Santiago ignored all orders to stop fighting and was placed under arrest by Patrolman Gaylord. Santiago began to violently resist arrest, resulting in he and officer Gaylord falling to the ground. Detective Hussam Assad assisted to handcuff Santiago who continued to resist arrest. A female identified as Santiago’s wife, Agata C. Pena, was grabbing and pulling officer Gaylord around the neck and pulling his police radio cord in an attempt to get him off of her husband, Santiago.
Pena was placed under arrest by Roselle Park Patrolman Michael Wielgus. After a brief struggle, Santiago was eventually subdued and handcuffed with the assistance of other officers on scene. As a result of the struggle with Santiago, three (3) Roselle Park police officers sustained minor injuries.
Santiago was charged with 2C:33-2 (disorderly conduct); 2C:29-2 (resisting arrest); and 2C:12-1B(5)A (assault on police). Pena was charged with 2C:33-2 (disorderly conduct); 2C:29-1 (obstruction of the administration of law); and 2C:12-1A(1) (attempt to cause bodily injury to another). Santiago and Pena were released pending a Superior Court date of January 7, 2011.
Roselle Park Police Chief Paul W. Morrison stated he would like to thank all the responding agencies for their assistance. “This was a situation that could have been much worse for all involved. Unfortunately three of our officers sustained minor injuries due to the actions of a few, but due to the prompt response from surrounding agencies this situation was kept under control and no one else was injured. Those charged with violating the law will be appropriately prosecuted.”
The Police Chief wished to acknowledge Clark Police, Cranford Police, Hillside Police, Kenilworth Police, Linden Police, Roselle Police, Union County Police, and Union Police for their assistance in an excellent example of communities responding to the aid of others.