Partygoer argues police action at Merced hookah lounge was "excessive"

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Merced police officers could not make themselves available to speak on camera but say in a release that they were at the Hookah Lounge to serve a warrant for a suspect believed to be inside the venue. (KFSN)

A party turns to chaos after a brawl between Merced police officers and patrons ends with one officer assaulted. But partygoers inside Chandeliers Hookah Lounge say the police were the aggressors.

"He pushed the girl right there, then grabbed my friend and threw him," partygoer Josiah Wilson said.

Wilson says he and several of his friends were at the party. He says police came in and pushed him and another female, people tried to ask officers why they were pushing other patrons, and Wilson says that's when it started.

"Next thing you know, they started pushing more and fists start being thrown," he said.

Video shows police entering the building with non-lethal anti-riot weapons. Wilson says, in some videos, you can see tasers being used.

Merced police officers could not make themselves available to speak on camera but say in a release that they were at the Hookah Lounge to serve a warrant for a suspect believed to be inside the venue.

It goes on to say that the crowd became aggressive and began to challenge the officers, but Wilson says that's not true.

"I saw people getting punched, with their hands like this, asking him questions," he argued. "Nobody came at him with an aggressive manner. They were trying to reason with him and see what he was doing."

Action News did try to speak to someone at the Hookah Lounge, but the doors were locked and no was there. Police also state in the release that an officer was assaulted and suffered injuries.

Five people from the Bay Area, all in their 20s, were arrested as a result. Wilson says most of the people there were college students not trying to get involved and that the way police handled the situation was unnecessary.

"I feel some things were just out of pocket," he said. "It was excessive. It didn't necessarily need to be happening."

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