GONZALEZ, LA (WTXF) - Graduations are supposed to be happy events with audience members putting the spotlight on their loved ones. This one is disappointingly different.
Police in Louisiana are reviewing video of a fight that broke out at a high school graduation on Wednesday. They want to identify the people involved and arrest them.
The fight was among attendees sitting in the stands, not among graduates.
Police said they detained two suspects, but cleared them of involvement. Another person has been identified and will be arrested.
Zack Gautreau, who posted the video, said he saw three or four people involved in the fight, but not how it started. You can see what looks like several people trying to break up the fight.
Police Chief Sherman Jackson said he’s unhappy with the parents.
“Seeing video footage of this incident has angered me. Adults who should know better detracted from the achievements of area graduates,” he said in a statement. “They should be ashamed. We urge anyone with information to come forward. People must be held accountable for what happened, and incidents such as these will not be tolerated in our city. Young people worked for four years to have a brief moment of recognition at their graduation ceremony. To have that moment turned into this is inexcusable.”
The chief said instead, the community should highlight the achievements of the graduates.
This is his complete statement:
On Wednesday evening, May 11, a fight broke out at the East Ascension High School graduation. The fight was not between graduates, but unfortunately family members or friends who were watching from the stands. City of Gonzales Police Department officers who were on scene originally detained two suspects who were then cleared of any wrongdoing. The originators and participant quickly dispersed, so we are now working closely with East Ascension High School officials, using collected videos of the fight, to identify the culprits. Once identification has been made, arrests will be forthcoming. Chief Sherman Jackson hopes that any arrests made also serve as a lesson to the the community in the wake of the brawl. "Seeing video footage of this incident has angered me. Adults, who should know better, detracted from the achievements of area graduates. They should be ashamed. We urge anyone with information to come forward. People must be held accountable for what happened, and incidents such as these will not be tolerated in our city. Young people worked for four years to have a brief moment of recognition at their graduation ceremony. To have that moment turned into this is inexcusable." Chief Jackson also asks that members of the community stop sharing videos of the incident on social media platforms. "The sharing of videos made of this incident only serves to highlight this behavior, "said Chief Jackson. "I ask instead that on social media, people celebrate their family members who earned the right to receive their diplomas last night. Let's showcase those achievements instead of the people who set out to detract from them."Posted by City of Gonzales Police Department on Thursday, 12 May 2016