YouTube fight video leads to arrests

Published 2:42 pm Monday, December 28, 2009

A video posted on YouTube has led to the arrest of seven people accused of participating in a street fight involving students getting off a school bus, according to city officials.

Police had initially encountered an uncooperative crowd when they responded to a call about a large street fight in the 1400 block of Sierra Drive on Dec. 14. By the time they arrived at the scene, the fight had ended, and both the participants and the numerous witnesses on hand refused to share information about what had happened, Suffolk spokeswoman Debbie George said in a press release on Monday.

The lack of cooperation worried police, who were concerned that what had taken place in the street shortly after students had exited a school bus might escalate or spread into the city’s schools.

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Days later, however, investigators got a break, when they learned that a video of the fight had been posted on YouTube.

Members of the police department’s Neighborhood Enforcement Team worked with school resource officers, reviewing the video dozens of time and interviewing numerous subjects in an effort to identify and charge the participants.

“Police wanted to be sure that all involved were identified and charged, so that participants and witnesses knew that this behavior wouldn’t be tolerated,” George stated in the press release.

As a result of the investigation, five adults and two juveniles were charged with disorderly conduct. Five of those arrested are students. Members of the Neighborhood Enforcement Team picked up four of the five adults involved on Dec. 22. The fifth adult turned himself in Dec. 23. Petitions have been secured for the two juveniles.

The adults arrested were: Tywann Roshawn Eley, 19, of Portsmouth; Vontray Jerrell Jennings, 18, of the 1400 block of Sierra Drive; Ray Johnson II, 18, of the 40 block of Stacey Drive; Darold Lavell Lewis, 22, of the 1400 block of Sierra Drive; and Nathaniel Carpri Shaw, 19, of the 1400 block of Sierra Drive.