AKRON, Ohio (WJW) – Police body-worn camera video shows the chaotic moments following an October 14 football game in which Akron Ellet High School hosted their cross-town rival Akron Firestone.
The game ended with Firestone 26-7, but it was the way in which some of the players chose to celebrate that victory that some Ellet students interpreted as taunting.
Video of the game shows several players lying face down on the field using a swimming motion on the grass.
The demonstration follows the July death of Ellet Football player Toshay Pope, who drowned in Lake Melanie near Uniontown during an outing with the team.
On the body camera video, Firestone High School Principal Tina Loughry is heard telling officers
“People started to move that way (toward the Ellet locker rooms.) Some of the kids yelled, ‘They are fighting,’ that’s when I started to move forward and I saw some of our players were over in that area.”
Body camera video shows a large group of people involved in the fight.
Police are seen using what appears to be pepper spray trying to break up the fights.
“I saw the coaches were in that area trying to push people back, there were still kids moving forward. I saw some of my players. I saw some of the Ellet players, I saw a lot of fans and that’s when I saw the officers take out the can of mace, so I tried to move back,” said Loughry.
When asked how many people she believed to have been involved in the fighting Loughry told officers, “I would say actively maybe 20 kids who were actively, but then there were probably another 30 or 40 in the vicinity who could have been fighting, like they could have jumped in at any time.”
“Punches get to flying, boom, boom, boom, boom they flying,” said one unidentified female student in a statement to police.
“Firestone they just throwing punches. They not looking to see why they punching at they just throwing punches,” she added.
“In all my years of working, I never seen nothing like this,” one unidentified school employee is heard telling officers.
Akron Public Schools released a statement following the incident strongly condemning the abhorrent and unacceptable behavior and vowing to seek disciplinary action against anyone who was found to have actively participated in the large altercation.
Akron police on Tuesday told FOX 8 that they are participating in a joint investigation along with the school district but could not say whether anyone had yet been identified or if any charges are pending.