Thursday, January 18, 2007

A Martin Luther King Day basketball tournament at Xavier University's Cintas Center turned violent when fights broke out

Lynn Giroud:

The parking lot at the Cintas Center is quiet now, but at about 4 p.m. this afternoon, a disturbance inside during a basketball tournament brought dozens of officers there and led to several arrests.

This was the second year for the MLK Day basketball classic with six teams and three games in a day-long tournament attended by 6,500 high school students.

But after the second game, while a rap concert was starting, police say a couple of fights broke out.

"It was described to me as four or five people who got into an argument," said Kelly Leon, an XU spokesperson.

"There was pushing, shoving, throwing punches and throwing food and as they were fighting," said Leon. "More people gathered around so it looked bigger than it was."

"Every time you looked up, a bunch of crowds and people were running and saw officers running to see what was going on," said one teen. "So, it seemed like fights everywhere."

Several other fights did break out, and even though there were 32 Cincinnati, Norwood and campus police officers already on duty at the event, dozens more officers were called-in.

Not the best way, these students say, to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

"It's kind of ironic that there would be mass fights on his day when he fought for non-violence," said Heather Allen, of Forest Park.. "We should respect him because it is his day."

Police made six arrests and detained several others.

They managed to quell the escalating violence and the final game between Withrow and Winton Woods went on.

At the end of the day, police felt they successfully handled this event, where disputes were fought with fists, no weapons were found and no one was injured.

"It is too bad that this had to happen, but hopefully, overall, everybody had a good experience, or most had a good experience that were here," said Leon.

Last year after the basketball classic, extra police were also called-in for crowd control but there were no arrests.

Basketball melee condemned

Six arrested at Cincinnati high school basketball tournament

What you say: The Cintas fracas

Power of non-violence


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