Protest held in response to video of New Haven arrest

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NEW HAVEN -- About a week after the apparent arrest of a 15-year-old girl at New Haven's Saint Patrick's Day Parade, community leaders and the girl's family converged on the city's police department in a multi-part protest.

Demonstrators were angry over a video recorded by a witness and then posted to YouTube. It shows an officer putting the teen up against an SUV and then pushing her onto the ground. Many feel that was an excessive use of force.

Monday's protest began with a march from Thorn Street to the steps in front of police headquarters, where dozens more joined in.  The group heard from local pastors, chanted and demanded answers about protocol.  They wanted the department to release the name of the officer involved and drop the charges filed against the teen.

About 20 minutes later demonstrators brought their message inside the station and requested to speak with the chief. He was on vacation according to the dispatcher, so protesters blocked traffic in front of the police station until someone in blue took their questions.

Lt. Herbert Sharp came outside to calm the group down around 5:45 p.m. He wouldn't answer the group's inquiries about the officer involved -- including the officer's name and if he was still on his beat -- but told protesters an internal investigation is ongoing.

"I would ask that you would just continue doing what you're doing but be patient. I know it's hard to be, but wait until that process works itself out, okay?" Sharp said to the group.

The girl's grandmother, Ann Boyd, vowed to fight for her granddaughter, who is said to have suffered a fractured shoulder and a cut near her eye.

"We have legal representation and it's going to take a while but we will fight this fight," Boyd said. "The action of the officer was totally unjustified."

It is still not clear what happened in the moments leading up to the arrest. Rumors are swirling that the teen had a knife and mace on her, though protesters said that should not matter.

"I don't care if she maced the whole parade, she did not deserve to be slammed on the ground, the way that officer slammed her on the ground, she's a little child," said one man.

Lt. Sharp declined to release any more information about the incident, citing the internal investigation.