Benton Harbor teen fights end up on Youtube, videos lead to charges

After school fights have kept police in Benton Harbor on high alert.

Now, some of those fights are being posted on Youtube and authorities are using the videos to charge those responsible.

It can be hard for officers to figure out how a fight broke out when it occurs in a large crowd. But, the sometimes graphic videos often show a fight from beginning to end. Police have been able to identify some of those involved because the fight appears on Youtube.

"Some of these Youtube videos have been very advantageous for us to levy charges and go for prosecution of some of these kids," said Roger Lange, director of public safety in Benton Harbor.

As the students press the share button on their phones, they're giving police a way to crack down on this violence.

"Last week, we had approximately eight students arrested for various charges," Lange said.

The faces on the screen - facing charges in court.

On a quiet corner just across the street from the school, the Boys and Girls Club teen center hopes to bring teens in and keep them off the street long before they have to deal with the law.

"We have people out here doing these fights, I can see how that is sad and how that can bring the community down," said John Howard, director at the teen center. "What we promote here is non-violence, being engaged positively with one another."

The staff at the center does regular outreach and gets to know the kids.

"All kids are not a part of this set, all kids are not part of gangs," he said. "We have a vast majority of our kids who are great kids, who want to be civically engaged."

Reminders of future possibilities line the walls at the center, with supportive adults nearby.

"Some of our kids can be lost within the system," Howard said. "So, we promote education, we promote going to school. We follow them and track them."


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