The Clark County School District Police defended the actions of one of its police officers Monday. The officer pepper-sprayed coaches and players during a brawl Friday night.
The massive fight broke out at the end of a football game between Canyon Springs High and Basic High schools. The game was played at Basic High School.
CCSD Police says the officer made the right choice to use pepper spray to stop the fight. Investigators are looking to speak to victims to pursue criminal charges or other disciplinary actions. However, so far, no one has come forward.
Both teams are facing sanctions.
Katrina McAllister says it’s usually a tradition to take a picture with her son after every football game, but the fight stalled that tradition on Friday.
After the end of the fourth quarter, the brawl broke out between football players and staff from both high schools, causing a police officer to use pepper spray to break it up.
“One of our area sergeants noticed that what he appeared, what he thought was an adult, possibly a staff member, from one of the teams on the ground, being stomped by players,” said Capt. Ken Young, CCSDPD.
McAllister says she was on the field watching in horror. She says her son was punched in the mouth.
“I turn around, and there’s this big cloud of pepper spray, and I’m like, ‘where’s my kid?’ But he was right there, so I just grabbed him, and I’m like ‘you guys have to get off the field,’ McAllister said.
According to McAllister, tensions were running high from the very beginning. At one point, four players were ejected; three from canyon springs and one from basic.
The referees handed out a total of 37 fouls, and the majority of them were for unsportsmen-like conduct.
“I know football is aggressive, but it was out of control,” said McAllister.
The Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association is expected to hand down sanctions against both teams. A decision can come as early as Tuesday.
Captain Young says there were five school police officers at the game, and their primary duty is to keep an eye on the stands and let the adults on the field handle the students.
In the past, more officers would be assigned to each game.
Young says that’s no longer the case due to CCD’s $60 million budget shortfall.
“We have changed the numbers at this point, so I’m not gonna get into the actual numbers just for security reasons,” Capt. Young said.
Young says there is no known rivalry between both schools because had there been there would have had more officers at the game.
“We have a rivalry with Green Valley and Foothills and you know it’s the back and forth with pranks and stuff, but we’ve never had an issue like this with them,” said McAllister.
As of now, both teams are still scheduled to play on Saturday.