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Man accused of punching Reading policeman during disturbance at Pagoda is arrested

Reading police have arrested a man they said punched an officer in the face during a disturbance at the Pagoda last weekend involving a large gathering of people, many who illegally rode dirt bikes.

An arrest warrant was issued Wednesday for Lorenzo Gonzalez, 29, of the 600 block of Buttonwood Street, for aggravated assault, interference with the administration of justice, riot and related charges.

Gonzales turned himself in on Friday and is being held on $750,000 bail, police said.

According to police:

Officer Michael Balch was assigned to a dirt bike detail June 8 after the police department had learned via social media that a large number of riders of off-road vehicles were planning to gather in the city.

Balch was on Duryea Drive when he heard that police were being dispatched to the Pagoda for a report of a large and noisy crowd.

As he got out of his vehicle to try to clear the way, he saw a man later identified as Luis Melo-Castillo, 26, of Reading on an illegal dirt bike.

The officer approached Melo-Castillo and grabbed him as he tried to turn on the bike. A struggle ensued, and a crowd formed around the two men.

Video footage of the incident shows that as the struggle progressed, Gonzalez approached the officer from behind and raised his fist to strike him.

Gonzalez does not take a swing at the officer at that point, but instead stops and eventually ends up in front of the officer. Gonzalez can be seen yelling at the officer and trying to pull Melo-Castillo away from Balch, who in response lunges at Gonzalez.

Gonzalez can then be seen in the video punching the officer twice in the face before the footage ends.

Source: Berkshire mont

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