PITTSFIELD — There was a tense exchange and one disorderly conduct arrest at Friday’s rally in support of President Donald Trump, a weekly event that routinely draws counterprotesters.
Officers David Carusotto and Izinna Lytle were assigned to work the standout in the area of the intersection of Dalton Avenue and Cheshire Road, said Pittsfield Police Sgt. Nicholas DeSantis.
For weeks, the area along Route 8 just beyond the Allendale Shopping Plaza has been the general location of the rallies in support of the president, as well as counterdemonstrations.
Video taken at the standout showed demonstrators with Black Lives Matter signs on one side of Dalton Avenue, and demonstrators with Trump flags on the other side, in front of Kelly’s Diner.
DeSantis said the officers working the demonstration noticed a man driving west on Dalton Avenue stop in the road and got out of his vehicle at 6:18 p.m.
The man, who police later identified as John Brancazzu, 55, of Pittsfield, exchanged words with “some of the attendees” then got into a “brief physical altercation” with one of them, DeSantis said.
Shouting could be heard on the video, which showed one man involved in the encounter wearing a red hat and the other wearing a Black Lives Matter sweatshirt.
Brancazzu and the other person pushed up against one another but did not exchange blows before officers intervened and separated the two, he said.
The officers told Brancazzu to drive away, but he did not, according to DeSantis.
“Despite several directions from the officers for Mr. Brancazzu to drive away, he refused, creating a hazardous condition,” he said. “So, they made the determination to bring him under arrest.”
Brancazzu was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, DeSantis said. He was booked on the charges, then released on his own personal recognizance, and is due to be arraigned in Pittsfield District Court on Monday.
Police began sending officers to the recurring rallies after a fight broke out last month at the scene between a Trump supporter and a man wearing a Black Lives Matter shirt, ending in the Trump supporter lying motionless on the ground.