At 9:23 pm. Feb.10, Peter Horst of McLean received a text from his son saying:" I was literally just assaulted by a cop."
His son Sam, 17, said he was in the downtown McLean McDonald's where a Fairfax County police officer struck him three times, took him outside for a breathalyzer test, then told him he was free to go.
He is the second student to describe how police officers struck them. Sam sent McLean Patch an e-mail message after the news-site published a story about incidents at McDonald's based on an interview with the McLean Police District Commander. He disagreed with the commander's description of events.
Nearly 30 people who left comments on the McLean Patch front page after that story, many disagreeing with the commander's report.
McLean District Commander Capt. Daniel Janickey said hundreds of students were at McDonald's on Old Dominion Drive following the Langley-McLean basketball game, an intense crosstown rivalry.
"The officers were telling them to disperse and they were not listening. The officer did use his baton to hold one individual up against the wall. No one was ever struck with a baton,” Janickey said.
“We were outnumbered tremendously. We had three officers available and the crowd was being unruly. It was unsafe situation” for the community, Capt. Daniel Janickey, commander of the McLean Police District, said last week.
"You had over 100 kids in there (at the McDonald's). They just took the place over. Some were intoxicated. They didn’t listen to management or police. The officers were trying to maintain order," he said. "This is a community and public safety issue."
The incidents are now under investigation by the Internal Affairs unit of the Fairfax police department because of allegations of excessive force.
Capt. Janickey said that night police arrested four students at the game at McLean High School and arrested a fifth student outside the McDonald's. All were juveniles and were charged with public drunkenness.
Sam Horst attended the game then headed to McDonald's. He arrived alone to find police officers outside and an army of Langley and McLean students inside.
"There were people all over the place. It was wild but not a drunken mob,” he said .
He immediately saw "two kids confronting each other." Then "Two or three police officers came rushing in the front door and sort of knocked the kids apart.”
Sam, who had entered through the Elm Street side door, was on his way to the counter to order “And the cop turned to me.”
A police officer was standing off to the side, “I had taken four steps when he started hitting me.” They had not spoken.
“He hits me three times. He rams me in the chest." The officer then pinned him against a wall.
“He was pushing the baton against my throat." Sam said he tried to move the baton to relieve the pressure on his throat.
The officer said, “He would knock me down on the ground and handcuff me,” if he didn't stop.
“The whole time I was trying to ask him what I had done wrong,” he said.
The officer takes out a notebook, asks his name then tells Sam to follow him outside for a breathalyzer test, Sam said.
"I don’t know what I had done to make him think I had been drinking,” the Langley student said.
Test done, the officer tells Sam he's not under arrest and he can go.
That's when he texted his dad.
Peter Horst, at a Friday afternoon interview with his son, said he immediately asked his son was he okay and if he had been " a smart mouth (because) you just don’t mess around with a policeman doing his thing.”
Then he heads to McDonald's and talks to a police officer.
"I’ve been disappointed" by the police statement, he said. "I'm maintaining hope that they will do what great organizations do which is acknowledge a mistake, deal with it, and move on.”
He said a police investigator had contacted the family.
"No one has more respect for law enforcement than I do” said Peter Horst, adding that he has relatives and friends who are FBI agents, DEA agents, and local police officers.
“This is not a family with a grudge against the cops. . . I am just really disappointed that they can’t just acknowledge a mistake,” Peter Horst said.
Sam, a Langley High school junior, who said he had a 3.7 grade average and who plays for the soccer team, had an ACT test, the next day.
If you witnessed the events at the McDonald's and would like to share what you saw please contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org