Police break up brawl during basketball tourney in Brookhaven

Published 10:20 am Monday, February 19, 2018

By Adam Northam
The Daily Leader

A fight in the stands in the middle of the Region 6-5A basketball tournament at Brookhaven High School Friday night resulted in a stoppage of play as police and officials cleared the court and removed some fans from the building.

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The incident occurred shortly before 9 p.m. as the Forest Hill and Wingfield boys teams were warming up for the championship game. It started with a single young male being escorted out of the gymnasium and into the locker rooms by two Brookhaven police officers and several women, then escalated into the stands and onto the court. Police restrained and removed at least one adult male, and other adults were seen pushing and restraining each other in the stands.

Officials and coaches herded student-athletes together and away from the turmoil while police officers cleaned up the trouble areas. Brookhaven High School Athletic Director Tommy Clopton addressed the crowd on the gymnasium’s public address system, asking for calm and threatening removal and arrest for further confrontation.

“Kids — you can go home now. Get your butts under control,” he said to a group of youth in the north bleachers, to applause from the crowd. “Thanks for your cooperation.”

Order was restored, and at 9:05 p.m., officials returned the basketball teams to the court to resume warm-ups. The title game tipped off around 9:15 without further incident.

It remains unclear how the fight started and who was involved. Brookhaven School District Assistant Superintendent Rod Henderson said he and his staff are still gathering facts about the incident. Calls to Brookhaven police have not yet been returned.