Why Were These Kids in Copperas Cove, Texas Charged With Rioting?
Tensions ran high during a high school varsity basketball game between Harker Heights High School and Copperas Cove High School last week, leading to a fight between players. Now, misdemeanor arrest warrants for Riot Participation have been issued to 10 players.
Boom Goes the Dynamite
According to a press release from the Copperas Cove Police Department, CCPD Officers responded to a call about a fight at the varsity basketball game. The fight involved players from both teams.
Here's video of the brawl from The Killeen Daily Herald's YouTube page:
(Warning, there is adult language in the background of this video.)
Here's another view courtesy of KCEN's YouTube page:
Video of the event showed several players and spectators joining in to break things up when it spilled into the hallway.
Following their initial investigation, CCPD charged 10 students from both schools with Riot Participation - a charge that has parents very upset.
Many of the parents feel like the charges are unwarranted. One mother told KXXV about her son, “He was trying to help his friend, he wasn’t trying to hurt anybody or harm anybody. None of them were."
Parents of the students from Harker Heights spoke at a School Board meeting last Tuesday expressing their concerns over the charges. Parents from both schools feel like the school officials, referees and law enforcement are over-reacting to the fight and didn't do enough to prevent the altercation from happening in the first place.
According to Texas A&M Central Texas Criminal Justice Expert Lynn Greenwood, charges can be filed at the officer's discretion, even if there was nobody harmed or property damaged.
Both sides say the police and schools are blowing the situation way out of proportion, blaming referees, coaching staff, and law-enforcement for not doing enough to prevent it from happening.
What Do You Think?
Overall, players were coming to the defense of their teammates. These kids should be held accountable for their actions both on and off the court, but from what you see in the videos, do you think these kids should be charged with misdemeanor rioting?