COVINGTON -- The Covington Police Department is looking into a series of attacks on students that occurred after Friday night's football game at Homer Sharp Stadium.
According to CPD Lt. Al Miller, several calls came into 911 dispatch about 10:20 p.m. reporting fights that seemed to be breaking out almost simultaneously in the Newton Drive/Mill Street area.
"We received different calls saying there was a large group of people chasing one person, or that it looked like a gang of people going after one person," he said, adding that as best police can determine there were two documented incidents with at least one young man requiring treatment at Newton Medical Center.
An officer was flagged down by the mother of one of the victims who said her daughter and her male friend had been assaulted.
The daughter told the officer that she and her friend were walking down Mill Street when "she noticed a large group of males running towards them." She said the group confronted her male friend and that one of the group hit him in the face. When she turned around to see who hit her friend, she was also struck."
The teen said her friend took off running and the group chased after him, pulling at his shirt and striking him again.
When the officer tracked down the girl's friend, he told the same story and described the person who assaulted him the first time as a light-skinned black male, wearing a white shirt, khaki shorts and an Atlanta Braves hat. He said he ran and was caught and assaulted again by "another group of juveniles."
In one of the other incidents, a young male reported being "jumped" by a "gang of black males," and subsequently assaulted. The boy, a Newton High School student, said he was kicked and punched repeatedly and sustained minor cuts and bruising. According to the incident report, he is a hemophiliac.
In one incident report of the fights, the officer said the gang of black males yelled "CBT" and that common denominators for the assaults are that all the victims were white and the aggressors were black males that self-identified themselves as members of the CBT.
Miller said if CBT is an organization or gang, this was the first time his officers have heard of it.
"That's part of what we are looking into. We do have some good information about some of the people who may be involved in this and we are in the process of investigating this right now," he said. "We tried to respond as best we could and are in the process of finding out who did this."
Miller said the CPD knew there would be a huge crowd for the game and were in the area at the time of the attacks, but by the time officers reached one location, perpetrators had fled.
"There were so many people and so few of us. We're limited as to where we can be at one time. We had people working security, but the number of people the school system hires to work security has been cut drastically. Our officers have to work traffic ... it was kind of tough dealing with that many people when your limited with your (number of) personnel.
An aunt of one of the victims said her niece was attacked in front of the Covington YMCA on Newton Drive where students were getting picked up after the game. She described the attackers as "mean and ugly and trying to hurt people. It concerns me ... There were cops directing traffic but ... there needs to be more security there. These innocent kids didn't expect this ... High school football games shouldn't get taken away from these kids because they are too scared to go to the game anymore."
The Newton County School System also is looking into the incidents.
"We are in contact with the law enforcement officers handling the investigation and if it is determined students were involved, the schools will take appropriate action," said Sherri Davis-Viniard, director of public relations at the Newton County School System. "It appears the incident happened out on the street, away from the stadium after the game. We have officers from the city of Covington and the Newton County Sheriff's Office working both before, during and after the game because safety is a primary concern for us. We ask that anyone with information about the incident to please report it."
Police ask that anyone with information on these incidents call the CPD at 770-786-7605. Tips can be given to the CPD anonymously by visiting their website at www.covingtonpolice.com and clicking on "Most Wanted" and then "Anonymous Tips."