Video of park fight put on­line

Women’s brawl filmed in Ni­co­let un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion, po­lice say

The Enterprise - - Front Page - By JACQUI ATKIELSKI and JA­SON BAB­COCK jatkiel­ski@somd­news.com jbab­cock@somd­news.com

A fight that broke out at a county park in Lex­ing­ton Park fea­tur­ing women car­ry­ing base­ball bats on Sun­day was broad­cast live on so­cial me­dia, prompt­ing an in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the St. Mary’s sher­iff’s of­fice.

The two women ac­tively fight­ing in the video at Ni­co­let Park have not been iden­ti­fied at this time, nor have the fe­males who were car­ry­ing bats, Capt. David Yin­gling, com­man­der of the pa­trol divi­sion, wrote in an email Wed­nes­day.

Yin­gling said in a phone call Thurs­day the sher­iff’s of­fice and the St. Mary’s County Depart­ment of Re­cre­ation and Parks have a close part­ner­ship and reg­u­larly dis­cuss is­sues in­clud­ing fish­ing and crab­bing vi­o­la­tions at county parks, as well as other in­ci­dents that hap­pen.

Those ar­eas “are some­thing we mon­i­tor be­cause the com­mu­nity goes there to spend time with their fam­i­lies,” he said. “Ob­vi­ously what hap­pened was not a whole­some fam­ily event. Some of the first calls we re­ceived about it were from” county em­ploy­ees

at the parks, and about five min­utes later deputies re­sponded to the scene and “the peo­ple scat­tered and no­body wanted to say any­thing to us,” Yin­gling said.

“The case is an open and ac­tive in­ves­ti­ga­tion as­signed to Deputy Shawn Bowie of the pa­trol divi­sion,” he said. “When the in­ves­ti­ga­tion is com­plete and the cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing the in­ci­dent are known” charges could be filed, Yin­gling said.

He said his divi­sion is work- ing with other part­ners such as the depart­ment of pa­role and pro­ba­tion to iden­tify com­mu­nity mem­bers in the video. “If we can’t iden­tify every­one in the video, you’ll see still shots sent out” for the com­mu­nity to iden­tify, Yin­gling said.

Yin­gling said while they can­not con­firm at this time how large the au­di­ence was as fea­tured in the video, he said ap­prox­i­mately 100 or fewer peo­ple were seen in the video. He said the sher­iff’s of­fice is con­sid­er­ing that peo­ple may have been there ini­tially to en­joy the park and not for the fight.

No emer­gency med­i­cal ser- vices were called to the scene, but it is un­known if the two women fight­ing in the video needed med­i­cal at­ten­tion, he said.

“It didn’t ap­pear in the video the base­ball bats were used in the fight,” Yin­gling said. There was no ap­par­ent prop­erty dam­age caused by the base­ball bats cap­tured in the video, he said.

Arthur Shep­herd, di­rec­tor of the St. Mary’s County Depart­ment of Re­cre­ation and Parks, said he had not per­son­ally watched the fight video, but was aware of the in­ci­dent.

Ni­co­let Park, lo­cated next to the Patux­ent Park neigh­bor- hood, “is an ac­tive park and it’s a safe place to be,” Shep­herd said. “We con­sider it as a very safe place.”

The fight “had noth­ing to do pro­gram­mat­i­cally with our staff,” he said. “It was a group that de­cided to carry out their con­flict” at the park.

“That was an anom­aly. You don’t see that of­ten,” he said. “They just dropped in.”

Ni­co­let Park has a play­ground, spray ground, skate park and bas­ket­ball courts and staff are on hand there. Shep­herd said he uses the park, too.

“We would con­sider that a safe place to be,” he said.

The depart­ment of re­cre­ation and parks is not aware of any other prop­erty dam­age or as­saults there re­cently, he said.

A new en­trance for Ni­co­let Park is un­der de­sign to come out on FDR Boule­vard and the de­sign is about 90 per­cent com­plete, Shep­herd said.

Tips about this in­ci­dent and others can be sub­mit­ted through Crime Solvers at 301475-3333. Deputy Bowie can be reached at 301-475-4200, ext. 8066, and the duty of­fi­cer at the sher­iff’s of­fice can be con­tacted at 301-475-4040.

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