A Safford police officer was leaving the gas station on the corner of 8th Avenue and 8th Street last Wednesday afternoon, when he saw a group of school-aged children in the alley behind the city hall annex on 8th Avenue. The officer noticed that two boys were actively fighting with a large group of onlookers. According to the police report there have been numerous reports of juvenile problems and fights involving juveniles in the area recently. As the officer headed toward the fight, the group broke up and ran in different directions. The largest group ran down the alley directly behind the city hall annex building, which comes out on Stratton Drive. The officer drove to Stratton Drive to head them off.
As the officer turned onto Stratton Drive, a woman flagged him down and said that the group of kids that were running from him tried to steal a bike out of her sister’s back yard and then ran back down the alley toward the city hall annex. The officer turned down the alley and the large group of kids again began running away from him. Two other officers came to help round the kids up. Several juveniles were questioned at the city hall annex who said they all went to the area to watch two boys fight.
One of the boys who had allegedly been fighting was found at the Boys and Girls Club. The boy apparently had a bloody lip, but didn’t require medical attention. The boy told the officer that he had gone to the city hall annex with the intention of fighting the other boy. The mother of the boy was contacted at her home and she went to the Boys and Girls Club to pick the boy up. The officer advised her that her son was going to be referred for disorderly conduct and fighting in public.
An officer also made contact with the other boy’s mother, who brought him to the police station. The boy told authorities that he thought he was meeting the first boy to get his basketball back, which had apparently been taken from him earlier in the week. He said that the first boy pushed him and the two began to fight. He denied going to the area with the intent to fight, despite what the statements from other kids that they were there to watch the fight.
Later, the first boy’s mother reportedly contacted Safford police and said that she questioned her son about the fight incident and he told her that he had not gone to the area to fight, which contradicted the statement he gave police earlier.