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Police target planned fights
by Gary Kent
May 03, 2012 | 1021 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
BEEVILLE — Filing assault charges after one of those arranged fights will not work, according to investigators at the Beeville Police Department.

In fact, in some cases, both parties could be charged with a Class A misdemeanor assault offense.

“They are going to have to face the consequences,”

Detective Sgt. Art Gamez said.

The detective said close to 20 such fights have been investigated recently, and city police have opted not to accept the assault charges in most of the cases.

Gamez said Patrolman Tony Gutierrez has worked 10-12 of the incidents, and Detective Sgt. Ryan Treviño is working on about seven cases.

“They organize these physical confrontations,” Gamez said. The fights are planned and bystanders video them with their cell phones.

If a fight occurs off campus, Gamez said the parties will be cited for a Class C misdemeanor and their parents will be notified. Those charged will have to appear in municipal court and will most likely have to pay a fine.

If the fight leads to a Class A misdemeanor, the parties will be detained and taken to the Beeville Police Department, where they could end up being sent to the juvenile detention center in Sinton.

“Over a dozen fights have been reported just recently,” Gamez said. Being involved in one of those incidents could result in participants being detained, fined or both.

Most of those involved in the fights have been girls, Gutierrez said. And most have been junior high school students. Some of those involved in the fights have been high school students.

“It’s for the attention,” Gamez said.

“A lot of these reports are coming here as assaults,” said Police Chief Joe Treviño. Usually, the party trying to file an assault charge is the loser of the confrontation.

“But they aren’t assaults,” the chief said. “They’re mutual combat and, in those cases, both parties will be cited.”

Treviño blamed the trend on the mixed martial arts and other physical combat programs that teenagers are exposed to on television and the internet these days.

“When two people agree to fight, it’s mutual combat. When you lose, it’s your fault,” the chief said.

“If bullying is occurring, students need to contact the school,” Gamez said. Let the administration take care of the problem. If the bullying leads to a fight and someone is hurt in the confrontation, that could lead to a civil suit.

“Cooperation and assistance of the school and parents is a must,” Gutierrez said. Plans are now underway for a special assembly at Beeville Independent School District campuses for the beginning of the next school year to address the problem.

“We just want parents to know this is going on,” Treviño said. But Gamez said he has heard that a few parents have actually encouraged the confrontations. Those parents could find themselves facing serious legal consequences.

Gutierrez said evidence of the fights is not hard to find. Students who video the events with their cell phones are posting them on You Tube and Facebook regularly.

Gary Kent is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 120, or at reporter@mySouTex.com.
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