CONVENT — The mother of a teen hurt in a fight that broke out on Christmas Eve at a bonfire event in St. James Parish and the leader of a nonprofit group hope to bring community leaders, ministers and parents of the young men involved in the fight, black and white, to meet for reconciliation after news of the event created a social media storm of allegations of racism from both sides.
There's been talk of a possible protest, and additional St. James Parish Sheriff's deputies will be stationed at Lutcher High School on Friday when students return from their holiday break.
"People are trying to fuel the fire now," said La'Quesha Scott, the Convent mother of 15-year-old Sam Scott Jr., who suffered a sprained knee in the fight.
Immediately after the fight, she had expressed on Facebook that the fight was racially driven. But she said in the days following that she hoped it wasn't.
"It could have been anything," she said Wednesday. "I don't want to make it just a race thing. I'm not racist, my kids aren't racist. I have Caucasian friends."
Deputies arrested three people in the days following the fight that injured Sam Scott as well as 17-year-old Shannon Dumas Jr., who received severe injuries to his head and face.
Jordan Hitt, 21, of Gramercy, was booked into St. James Parish jail on a count of aggravated second-degree battery, and Grady Gieger, 25, of Prairieville, and Dylan Recotta, 19, also of Gramercy, were each booked on a count of second-degree battery.
CONVENT — Two more men were arrested Friday in the fight that broke out between white and black males at a Christmas Eve bonfire event that le…
Sheriff Willy Martin said Wednesday that deputies have not found a racial motive behind the fight, which is still under investigation, with more witnesses due to be interviewed.
The teens and young adults of both races were socializing in a friendly manner before the fight, Martin said. "What upset the apple cart, we have a lot of opinions on, but one is certain: It is not a hate crime."
La'Quesha Scott said she had reached out to the Rev. Raymond Brown, of New Orleans, president of the charitable organization National Action Now, formed in 1986 to help youth in trouble with the law, after he posted level-headed comments on Facebook, wondering if the fight was due to racism or something more mundane, like jealousy.
Scott's son and other youth had believed the fight broke out after a white teen-aged girl spoke to a black male youth. Sheriff Martin has said investigators found no evidence to corroborate that narrative.
La'Quesha Scott and Brown met in Convent on Wednesday.
"We decided to come together to find a resolution, instead of attacks and counter-attacks," Brown said. "We ask that we find some kind of consolation, pray, talk."
Scott said she's spoken to families of the black youth involved in the incident. Brown said he hopes the white families touched by the incident reach out to him. He can be reached at the offices of National Action Now in New Orleans, at (504) 906-6285.
Brown and Scott spoke of inviting law enforcement, public officials and ministers to a community meeting at a time and place in the near future, still to be set.
"This is a clarion call for racial reconciliation and justice for all," Brown said.
Brown also said he's been contacted by national black activist groups that "are looking to me" to help diffuse the situation. Some groups have told him they are considering planning a protest in St. James Parish.
"If that happens, that will set us back," Brown said.
"There's some anxiety out there in the community and among the youth," Sheriff Martin said.
The sheriff said he's met with the principal and faculty of Lutcher High School, where several of the young people involved in the incident go to school or have graduated from school.
"The coaches and faculty say, 'We don't see this (racial tensions) at the school,'" Martin said. "What happened on the levee is baffling them, too."
The Sheriff's Office plans to have a few additional deputies at the high school on Friday, just to have a presence there to deter any possible after-effect on campus of the Christmas Eve incident.
"Some adults out there are feeding the flame, because they want to create tension," Martin said. "They need to stop that."