WDAY: The News Leader

Published May 02, 2013, 10:05 PM

Residents taking sides after allegations of gun to the head of a teenager

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - It's a topic sparking heated debate, one that lit up talk radio in the metro today.

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - It's a topic sparking heated debate, one that lit up talk radio in the metro today.

Three neighbors took the law into their own hands. Police say they had guns when they confronted a group of teenagers.

The men said those teens were harassing them and the neighborhood, but was it too much?

This is the block where three teenagers in a car say three men came running from a house after they honked their horn. The teens say one of the men pointed an assault rifle at them.

According to the three teens, Gerald Manley choked the driver of the vehicle after they stopped the car. The police report states Manley then put the vehicle in park and took the keys as the teens were told to get out.

Police say Michael Pajala had the assault rifle, the one the teens allege was pointed at them. One of their parents even said a gun was put to the head of one of the boys.

All of this before police got on scene.

Deputy Chief Pat Claus, Fargo Police: "When you decide to engage someone, by lecturing or detaining or whatever, you take on some responsibility."

Police say the adult's action was likely built up frustration starting about nine months ago. Police say that's when Manley had a confrontation with a group of teens since multiple terrorizing and vandalism reports have been taken in this neighborhood.

Things like rocks being thrown at homes, people knocking on windows and breaking into vehicles.

Claus: "People get frustrated. ‘The wheels of justice turn slow’ is the saying."

Saturday night before the incident someone drove by and threw lawn clippings on a driveway. Police say the men had enough and were ready to take things in to their own hands.

Claus: "Based on the facts as we know them we believe those actions went beyond reasonable and lawful."

The adults say no gun was ever pointed at the teens. Still Gerald Manley and Michael Pajala have been charged with disorderly conduct. Manley is also charged with simple assault for allegedly choking the driver.

Both have pleaded not guilty. The third man involved was never charged

On the Jay Thomas talk radio show today, Jay says about 90% of his callers are backing these men saying they did what needed to be done.