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Cops: Fighting teens also attacked cops at basketball game

February 14, 2022 GMT

DERIDDER, La. (AP) — Authorities in Louisiana say a disturbing video of officers hitting a teenager outside a high school basketball game doesn’t show what happened before — teens hitting the officers in their faces and from behind.

The fight broke out about 9:15 p.m. Friday outside the gym where rival DeRidder and Leesville high schools were playing, the Beauregard Parish Sheriff’s Office and DeRidder Police Department said in a joint statement released Saturday.

KPLC—TV reported that it was sent a video showing multiple officers on top of and hitting a person described by witnesses as a 16-year-old.

“I will be the first to say that the 28 second clip that is circulating is heartbreaking and very difficult to watch,” DeRidder Mayor Misty Clanton wrote in a statement sent to the station Saturday. “I will also say that the moments leading up to, during and after are also extremely disturbing. Obviously, this situation required some actions that were uncomfortable and difficult. Ultimately, peace had to restored.”

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The Beauregard Parish Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond to a call for comment Monday from The Associated Press.

The sheriff’s office and police department said four juveniles were arrested on charges of disturbing the peace by fighting, and three of them also were accused of battery of a police officer and resisting an officer by force or violence, news outlets reported.

“Our officers responded to multiple juvenile disturbances throughout the night” after Friday’s game, Clanton said.

The mayor said she, Police Chief Craig Richard and Deputy Chief Darren Hall had spent most of Saturday reviewing all the videos they had obtained from “the many incidents,” and were getting and asking for more.

“My preliminary findings reveal that no DeRidder Police Officer was involved in any direct physical altercation with any juvenile,” she wrote.

She also wrote, “What stood out to me in the footage was the vulgar language, complete disrespect, and an unwillingness to listen. This is across the board.”

Both the sheriff’s office and police department are investigating the incident.

The crowd refused to disperse, resulting in other fights, authorities said.

The school rivalry has a violent history. Three adults and six juveniles were arrested after a fight that included gunfire at a football game in September 2021. Police said nobody was wounded but bullets hit a home and a vehicle.