Net fights concern Tupelo police

TUPELO – A new national trend of staging fights to post on the Internet site YouTube is trickling down to Tupelo.

Log on to ThugPlay.com and you’ll see what has police and neighborhoods so worried.

Several YouTube videos of teens and young adults duking it out in front of cameras can be viewed on the site. Even last year’s Ballard Park brawl during the 2008 Tupelo Juneteenth Festival has been posted there. A “Shout out to Tupelo” title is attached to the video.

Tupelo Police Maj. Anthony Hill said even though the staged fights may be a cause for concern, they aren’t a reason for panic just yet.

“What’s going on is that teens are staging fights for the sole purpose to put on YouTube,” explains Hill. “Sites like YouTube and the access to cell phone video cameras by kids are making it possible for them to gain instant fame through these sites. It’s just a national fad that’s growing.”

Hill said because fads tend to trickle down from the media and television to households, police are keeping an eye on this type of activity.

“We really don’t catch a lot of this because if it’s going on it’s probably moving through different areas,” said Hill. “But we will keep an eye out for these activities. If we hear of a certain area where this is happening, we’ll up our patrols in that area.”

One area where some of these staged fights supposedly take place is near an apartment complex on Ida Street. A woman, who does not want to be identified out of fear for her safety, said she’s seen groups of teens fighting near her building.

“They gather and just start fighting,” said the woman. “Then after they fight, they all pick up and leave together. It doesn’t last long, just a couple of minutes.”

Hill said even though no one has been arrested in Tupelo for this type of behavior, he’s seen teens charged with assault in other areas.

“If you are caught doing this, you will be arrested,” said Hill. “These types of things aren’t fun and games, they’re crimes.”

Hill said it’s hard to pinpoint the fights because they aren’t in one set location.

Contact Danza Johnson at (662) 678-1583 or danza.johnson@djournal.com.

 

Danza Johnson/Daily Journal