Two people arrested in late-night scuffle with Northampton police at river park

  • Northampton police are increasing patrols at the Connecticut River Greenway Riverfront Park off Damon Road in response to complaints of late-night noise, unsafe fires, drinking and litter. NORTHAMPTON POLICE DEPARTMENT

Staff Writer
Published: 7/29/2022 6:13:59 PM

NORTHAMPTON — Police are increasing patrols at the Connecticut River Greenway Riverfront Park off Damon Road in response to complaints of late-night noise, unsafe fires, drinking and litter.

About seven hours after the Police Department announced the increased patrols on social media, officers conducting a check of the riverfront arrested two people on charges including assault and battery on a police officer.

Jenna Jones, 34, and Adam McAvoy, 37, were allegedly involved in a scuffle with officers who were attempting to clear the park at around 1:30 a.m. on Thursday. Public parks in the city are closed after 9 p.m., according to police reports of the incident included in Northampton District Court records.

“As we arrived at the park, we observed a small fire and could hear individuals talking,” Officer Brett Willson’s report reads. “We advised these individuals that they needed to clean up the trash and move along. … Jones and McAvoy immediately became angry and stated that they were in a public park and we were harassing them.”

Four people were present. According to the report, Jones and McAvoy were naked under a blanket and officers left them alone for 10 minutes so they could get dressed and pack up, but they did neither. Police said they ultimately helped them find their clothes.

Police said there were open alcohol bottles and empty beer cans “thrown around the area” and it was “apparent everyone was intoxicated.” Trash was strewn around as well, posing a hazard because some items were near the fire.

Officer Tyler Hampson wrote that, nearly half an hour after the initial warning to leave, no one had. He alleged that McAvoy became confrontational, at one point clenching his fist and appearing ready to strike Willson, and objected to police using flashlights to look for their belongings.

“McAvoy looked around at us and began to yell, ‘If you shine that light in my girlfriend’s face, it will be the last time you do it,’” Willson’s report reads. According to officers’ reports, he then took out his cellphone and shined the light in Officer Steven Rattelsdorfer’s eyes, yelling, “How do you like it?” before striking him once in the face.

Police tried to restrain McAvoy, but he allegedly resisted and Willson wrote that he hit him once in the left shin with his baton.

Jones allegedly tried to interfere with McAvoy’s arrest and pushed Rattelsdorfer, forcing Willson to break away and confront her as she made a “repeated and aggressive encroachment.” During her arrest, Jones’ shorts fell to her ankles and she accused Willson of removing them, according to the officer’s report.

After she was booked at the Police Department, a female officer wrote that Jones allowed her shorts to fall off again.

“Jenna would not comply with the booking process and was not fingerprinted or photographed,” Willson’s report reads. “She was positively identified using her RMV information.”

Jones, listed as homeless in court records, was charged with assault and battery on a police officer and interfering with a police officer. McAvoy, with an address on Center Street, was charged with assault and battery on a police officer and disorderly conduct, and cited for violating the city ordinance against possessing an open container of alcohol in public.

McAvoy was taken to Cooley Dickinson Hospital with reported shoulder and leg pain. His injuries were photographed by police.

Both pleaded not guilty at their arraignments on Thursday morning and Judge Jacklyn Connly ordered them released without bail. They were appointed public defenders. Pretrial hearings are scheduled for McAvoy on Aug. 26 and Jones on Sept. 15.

The other two people present during the incident were not charged, but they were issued citations for refusing to leave the park. McAvoy was charged with disorderly conduct because, according to Rattelsdorfer’s report, his assault on an officer “did cause inconvenience and alarm” to those who were not involved, including one person who “was so shocked, he stumbled backwards.” 

Brian Steele can be reached at bsteele@gazettenet.com.
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