The conflicts that led to last Friday’s deadly riot in South Augusta had been brewing for months, and were centered around the amorous activities of one particularly defiant teenage girl.
Investigators and officials close to the case tell me the Glenn Hills High School student apparently generated a massive amount of ill will and conflict by sharing a number of risqué and some “outright pornographic” digital pictures of herself and a number of different young men.
Many of those young men had other girlfriends, and some family members, who did not appreciate the gratuitous publicity. The resulting fallout has been a nightmare for school officials and public safety officers alike. I am told there have been a number of meetings and discussions involving this student and the disruption her activities had been bringing to the school atmosphere.
But the decision was made that since none of the activity in question, or the pictures taken of it, appeared to involve school property or class time, the girl was not going to be moved to the Richmond County Alternative School. Her removal was still considered, under what is called “Rule 32.” Under that rule, any student deemed to be engaged in activity that is detrimental to school morale or the peaceful operation of the school in question is subject to at least a temporary reassignment. in retrospect, it is clear the administration at Glenn Hills dropped the ball.
Somehow word got out that day that the young lady in question (and I use that term ironically) was finally going to get “what she had coming to her” in the way of community retribution. And she was home from school that day, imagine that. Initial estimates of the group that met up in her neighborhood were said to be as large as three dozen, but the available evidence doesn’t prove that. To be honest, we have no way of knowing who all showed up or why they showed up.
As we go to press, over a dozen individuals have been charged in connection with the brawl, which among other things resulted in the fatal stabbing of 18-year-old Demajhay Bell, who is the cousin of the girl in question. Bell was apparently attempting to protect his cousin from the approaching threat, which eventually manifested as an angry crowd, documented in excess of 20 people, arriving armed with bats, pipes and other weapons.
At least one of the participants in the 2 p.m. “Friday throw-down” was kind enough to video about three minutes of the violent clash, which played out in a usually quiet cul-de-sac known as the end of Chaps Lane in South Augusta. Watching the clip, I counted a dozen felonies committed in about 45 seconds by about a half dozen different people. That video made its way into the hands of WRDW News12 and, of course, the Richmond County lawmen tasked to investigate the hideous mess.
One particularly disturbing image that was making its way around Facebook this weekend accompanies this column, and investigators tell me they believe it clearly shows the knife they believe was used to inflict Bell’s fatal wound.
I am still trying to understand how this many people, who apparently are capable of feeding and dressing themselves, come to the conclusion that it is either appropriate or wise to engage in such a hideous display of dumbassery in broad daylight. Losing your temper in a bar, or even in the middle of a school lunchroom, can be explained and expected of young people and adults on occasion. But the display we witnessed come together on Chaps Lane last week brings to mind what would happen if the next Quentin Tarantino western were made with the Three Stooges playing all the major roles. Lots of silly, meaningless dialogue and tons of slapstick and physical comedy, punctuated with several five gallon buckets of stage blood and a clown car that can double as a coroner’s wagon.
No, it is not funny, not one damn bit. Demajhay Bell’s life came to an end last Friday and, before all is said and done, there will be other lives ruined and ended from the fallout of this inexcusable murder. And over what?
An idiotic girl posting nookie pictures.
Oh, and according to one witness at the scene, “Disrespect.”
There is not a human being associated with any of this insane behavior that deserves one ounce of respect from anyone.