A 14-year-old Carson High School student was hospitalized after being beaten by a number of juveniles Tuesday afternoon.
On Tuesday, the student and two relatives, who are all black, were involved in a fight with an unknown number of white juveniles at Mills Park.
The Carson City Sheriff’s Office responded to the fight about 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, but it was dispersed before units arrived. The family of the student filed a police report with the Sheriff’s Office which resulted in the arrest of three juveniles.
A cell phone video, which was shown to Carson City Sheriff Ken Furlong and other deputies, showed the black boys getting punched and kicked by a group of white Carson and Pioneer high students while an upward of 30 or more white students watched. Voices in the video could be heard cheering and instigating the fight.
The 14-year-old was taken to the hospital Wednesday night after he complained of a headache, and his family said his face swelled. He was taken to Renown Regional Medical Center where he was kept overnight. His grandmother said they were told to schedule another appointment for surgery due to bleeding in his forehead from his injuries.
The Sheriff’s Office continues to investigate the fight. Three male juveniles, two age 16 and one age 15, were identified and arrested on suspicion of battery.
The family of the teens is claiming the incident is racially motivated.
“Allegations of racial motivation have not been confirmed,” Furlong said. “It does appear that there was a separation of the fight that the black youths were targeted and that it was an agreed upon location. Yes, the arrestees were all white males and yes, they were all black male victims and I am not going to sugarcoat it, that is significant.”
The three boys involved said this is not the first incident of racism, and racial slurs have been directed at them. They also said they believe the fight Tuesday stemmed from an earlier fight between another relative and a Carson High School student.
The boys, in an interview Wednesday with the Nevada Appeal, said they were walking home when the fight occurred. Furlong said he believes the fight was planned as a one on one fight that quickly escalated.
“We didn’t see them,” the 16-year-old victim told the Nevada Appeal Wednesday. “I turned my head to see if anyone was following us and the whole crowd came. Somebody came from the back and hit (the 14-year-old). I had hit somebody and after that, that’s when everybody just started hitting us ... I got slammed on the ground and started getting stomped on. And that’s when they all left.”
Furlong said he could confirm from the videos he saw, the 14-year-old was the first one hit and it looked like a “sucker punch” to the back of the head.
“I believe the fight was supposed to be a one on one fight, but I believe before the first punch was thrown, someone hit one of the black boys and a brawl broke out,” Furlong said. “Whatever was intended to happen, didn’t happen.”
Furlong said additional arrests may be forthcoming. While the investigation continues, the Sheriff’s Office has been working with the school district to make sure the students involved are identified. Disciplinary action may be taken by the school along with criminal charges.
“We are continuing to investigate and we will do our very best to deal with this situation,” said Carson City Superintendent Richard Stokes. “In the meantime, it is important to get the impacted parties working together and set aside their differences so we can continue to have a safe school environment.”
Furlong said he’s concerned about retaliation.
“We are not taking this lightly,” Furlong said. “A zero tolerance has been issued to officers and if they see any racial motivations, fighting, instigating, or any disorder whatsoever, we will arrest. Anyone with escalation attempts better know we are looking for them and they will be arrested. We will not tolerate this behavior and there is no excuse for disruptive behavior.”