SAVANNAH, GA (September 24, 2012) Metro Police presence will increase in Daffin Park after fights disrupted youth football outings Saturday.
Savannah-Chatham Police Chief Willie Lovett said groups of teenagers and young adults numbering more than 100 are convening in the massive park already crowded with youth league football games.
Multiple fights broke out Saturday leading to the arrest of three adults and four juveniles and forcing police to close the park and order everyone out. The park reopened about an hour later.
“It’s unfortunate that these people have intruded into a family-oriented event to create havoc that could lead to serious injury of innocent people,” Lovett said. “This arrogance and disregard for public safety threatens children and family members who are participating in wholesome activities. It cannot recur.”
The event, following a much milder version of it the previous Saturday, has led Central Precinct Capt. DeVonn Adams to order additional officers into the park on Saturdays. City of Savannah Leisure Services already had hired off-duty officers to patrol the park during the event. Additional off-duty officers will be required in the future and additional patrols will be added. Visitors no longer will be allowed into the park’s mall area while league play takes place.
“It’s unfortunate that people are congregating in the park with other purposes in mind and disrupting the organized leagues that are offering some of the players a rare example of positive interaction,” said Adams, who had coached one of games earlier in the day.
“These games bring together players as young as 5 with their extended families for wholesome activities that could positively affect their lives in the future. But teen-agers and young adults who have no interest in the games are injecting their own agendas without regard to dangers they impose on innocent by-standers. We can’t … and won’t … have it.”
Hundreds of players and spectators, along with vendors serving them, had crowded into the park for the football games when others who did not appear connected to the games gathered in the middle of the park. Fights broke out in several locations causing officers assigned to the park to call in backup units. Officers from all five precincts, detectives and Mounted Patrol responded.
Quamelius Ja’Marie Lee, 17, of a Murphy Avenue address, was arrested in a foot chase into neighboring Ardsley Park after police saw him running with a gun after officers breaking up a large fight heard gunshots. He has been charged with carrying a deadly weapon in a public place, possession of a firearm by a subject under 21, reckless conduct and obstruction of an officer. No one was injured.
Michael Antonio Humphries, 18, was charged with fighting in a public place, affray, and Audonte Jamal Sheppard, 17, was charged with simple battery after police broke up other fights.
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