It was a birthday one Lancaster woman and two of her friends won’t soon forget.
It’s not known when Mackenzie Brandt started celebrating turning 25 on Sunday, but events began to take a turn for the worse when she punched a woman — who happened to be an off-duty Lancaster police officer — outside Tellus 360 as the bar was closing early Sunday, according to police Chief Jarrad Berkihiser.
Now, she and another woman, Victoria Leigh Northeimer, 25, are charged with aggravated assault — a felony — resisting arrest, disorderly conduct —both misdemeanors — and related charges.
Another person, Christopher Thvedt, 31, was charged with resisting arrest and obstruction. All three were also charged with public drunkenness.
Someone recorded the arrest and it’s been shared on social media. It shows Brandt struggling and an officer taking her to the ground to cuff her. The officer also sprays pepper spray.
Berkihiser defended the officer’s actions.
“Basically the officer was doing everything he was trained to do,” he said Monday.
“The woman was resisting arrest. While the officer was trying to control her the first time, she was kicking at him,” he said. As the officer had her pinned against the patrol car, she continued struggling and trying to kick him, he said.
“She's still actively resisting arrest,” he said.
So the officer took her to the ground to control her, Berkihiser said.
That’s when Northeimer kicks the officer, Berkihiser said.
The office sprayed pepper spray to keep Northeimer and Thvedt from interfering, Berkihiser said.
Berkihiser said the matter will be reviewed.
“Just like with any use of force incident, it’s reviewed at several levels. That's still going to happen, regardless of the social media that’s out there,” he said.
The off-duty officer wasn’t at Tellus, Berkihiser said, and she and Brandt don’t know each other. He’s not sure if it was a case of mistaken identity.
Berkihiser said Brandt came up to the woman while she was talking to her colleague at his patrol car and told her she had to leave; the woman identified herself as an off-duty officer and the uniformed officer told Brandt she needed to leave and that's when Brandt punched the off-duty officer.
Brandt was being held at Lancaster County Prison in lieu of $150,000 bail. Northeimer was being held there on $100,000 bail and bail was set at $7,500 for Thvedt. Online prison records did not show Thvedt as an inmate Monday.
Online court records don’t list attorneys for them.