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Police, DA meet over alleged beating

Published October 05. 2011 05:01PM

Coaldale Police Chief Tim Delaney met Tuesday with Schuylkill County District Attorney James Goodman concerning the alleged beating of a borough man by firefighters on Sept. 25.

Joseph Terry, 47, of 151 Third St., has since been released from St. Luke's Hospital Network, Bethlehem and is recuperating at home. The assault, Terry has told a Scranton-area television station, took place after a fundraising event for the borough's volunteer fire company at the VFW club in Coaldale.

Accounts of what happened that night differ between Fire Chief Richard Marek and people who say they saw firefighters chase and attack Terry. The incident happened between midnight and 1 a.m., according to various sources.

It may be weeks before law enforcement authorities come to a conclusion.

"It's still under investigation. We are still meeting," Goodman said early Wednesday. "Interviews are being done, and when the investigation is completed, appropriate action will be taken."

Goodman said he does not have a time frame for completion of the process. Efforts to reach Delaney early Wednesday were unsuccessful.

Efforts to reach Terry or his mother, Marie Terry, with whom he lives, were also unsuccessful Tuesday and Wednesday.

However, Terry appeared on a Sept. 30 broadcast on WNEP.

Lying in bed, with a bruise on his left cheek and a black eye, Terry was videotaped saying that "Me and the bartender had a little dispute, she asked me to leave, and I left. I was walking up the street and a couple of guys from the fire company surrounded me, and I felt a hit to the head with something hard, and that's the last thing I remember."

Marek, however, said that Terry threw a beer bottle in the club that just missed hitting him and his wife. Marek said firefighters followed Terry out of the club to detain him for police, and to find out why he threw the bottle. Marek said that he and other firefighters followed Terry down Ridge Street. Eventually, he said, Terry came after them.

Marek said that he blocked a punch from Terry, and that another firefighter returned a punch Terry threw at him, and Terry fell to the ground.

On the Sept 27 broadcast, Terry said "There was no confrontation with any fireman in that place."

The reporter asked, "How about when you left the place?" Terry answered, "Until they followed me and they started yelling at me, and the next thing I know I got hit in the head."

In response to a question asked by the TIMES NEWS of Delaney about whether state police should be asked to handle the investigation, Delaney said that he "considered it. but I can't see why we can't do the same job they do. It's up to the district attorney."

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