Families get into fist fight at high school graduation

Families get into fist fight at high school graduation
Published: May. 17, 2017 at 9:15 AM CDT|Updated: May. 17, 2017 at 4:44 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A brawl broke out at graduation for Arlington High School on Tuesday night.

The brawl happened at Bellevue Baptist Church during the students' ceremony.

People at the graduation said the brawl began over a saved seat at the graduation. Several different videos show the brawl happening as graduates walk down the aisles.

In the videos, several people try to break up the fist fight as two women throw punches. At one point, a woman is even knocked to the ground.

From another angle, a family member filmed as the Arlington High graduates walked into the sanctuary and people cheer them on. Then, the person behind the camera hears commotion and films the fight that broke out in the middle of the audience.

In another video, a woman is in handcuffs and another is standing and appears to be combative. Several Bellevue security officers step in to break up the brawl.

Octavius Adams was sitting right behind the commotion and shot this video on this cellphone. He was happy to see his cousin graduate, but never expected this.

"I was like no home training," Adams said. "I've always wanted to use that towards an adult, but no home training what so ever. And I was just sitting there like wow."

Adams said he only saw the Bellevue security officers respond to the situation.

He and several other people said that's the problem. Neither MPD or the Shelby County Sheriff's Office were called out to assist during this graduation brawl.

"A different part of town, If this was anywhere else, the police would've been there and there would've been a bit more force," Adams said.

Arlington school officials say they contracted security for graduation through Bellevue Baptist and say six sheriff's deputies were on hand but only as a precaution.

"Those are assault charges," Adams said. "I'm witnessing an assault and I don't see any repercussions behind it."

No one called police or deputies, not even witnesses.

Arlington Community Schools responded to the videos with the following statement:

Last night we celebrated 500 students who graduated from Arlington High School.  This year's class earned over $30,600,000 in college scholarships.  It was unfortunate that a couple of adults in the audience exhibited the behavior they did prior to the ceremony beginning and thus has caused a distraction from the celebration of our students' accomplishments.  The graduation ceremony was not affected by this incident due to the actions of Bellevue's security team who promptly removed the adults from the ceremony.  It is our hope that the focus will shift to our students and their accomplishments instead of the poor decisions by adults in attendance.  Congratulations to our 2017 graduates of Arlington High School.

It's unclear what, if any, charges the people involved in the fight will face. Deputies explained that no arrests mean no one wanted to press charges, but video evidence can still be used down the line to press charges.

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