After escaping Saturday melee in cuffs, woman arrested at Pittsfield courthouse


PITTSFIELD -- A city woman who allegedly escaped from police while handcuffed during a melee outside a city bar on Saturday was arrested on Monday as she showed up during court proceedings on the matter.

Candace D. Mateo, 33, of Barker Road, was one of seven people charged in the fracas that erupted just after 1 a.m. Saturday outside of Johnny's Beach Club on Wahconah Street, police and prosecutors said.

Police were on the scene to break up multiple fights in the crowd of as many as 100 patrons at the time.

While officers "tried to gain control of the growing crowd that was fueled with alcohol and anger," Mateo was yelling and screaming at officers who were trying to take two men who were actively fighting with police into custody. Police said she was trying to "escalate" the situation and get the two men to further attack police.

Officers attempted to take Mateo into custody for disorderly conduct when she resisted arrest and kicked officers in the legs and torso, police said.

When police were trying to gain control of Mateo they were "swarmed" by people and assaulted, according to the report. A woman, Lanise Robinson, then slipped her hand into the front of Mateo's yoga pants at her behest and took out a bag that later field-tested positive for cocaine, police said.

After being cuffed Mateo was able to escape into the large crowd while police officers were once again swarmed.

Mateo's attorney, David C. Cafarelli, said his client showed up in Central Berkshire District Court on Monday morning on her own to deal with the charges and was then arrested by police. He said she wasn't instigating anything on the morning of the melee, but was recording the incident with her cellphone camera and was arrested when she refused to stop recording, he said.

When she came to court she didn't have cuffs on, said Cafarelli.

The Berkshire District Attorney's Office pointed to her previous record when requesting $1,000 cash bail. In 2008, Mateo was convicted on federal charges of conspiracy to possess cocaine with the intent to distribute and possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute and served 24 months in prison and four years of supervised release.

Mateo pleaded not guilty on Monday to five misdemeanor charges -- single counts of disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, escape from an officer and two counts of assault and battery on a police officer and a single count of felony cocaine distribution.

Judge Paul M. Vrabel set bail at $500 cash or $5,000 surety bail. Mateo was released on $500 bail shortly after her arraignment and is due back in court April 22.

Robinson was charged with possession of cocaine, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and assault and battery on a police officer. Police said she pushed an officer down the stairs of the bar's porch and kicked and punched him.

She pleaded not guilty to the charges Monday and is free on personal recognizance.

Five others also were charged:

Travis Altman, 26, of Pittsfield, was charged with two counts of felony assault with a dangerous weapon for allegedly throwing "large jagged pieces of ice" the size of footballs at officers. He was also charged with disorderly conduct as a subsequent offense, possession of cocaine and resisting arrest.

Kamarris Tre'rell Dewitt, 21, of Pittsfield, was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. Police said he had to be Tasered into submission. One of the arresting officers suffered knee and hand injuries while attempting to take him into custody.

Brandon Eason, 23, of Dalton, was charged with resisting arrest, assault and battery on a police officer and disturbing the peace. He allegedly punched an officer in the chest when he was being taken into custody.

Danielle Wendell, 21, of Pittsfield, was arrested after allegedly punching an officer and was charged with assault and battery on a police officer, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.

Steven Huff, 29, was charged with disorderly conduct, vandalizing property and resisting arrest. After being taken into custody he allegedly damaged the police cruiser.

All five denied their charges, were given attorneys and released on personal recognizance.

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