Three students suspended for fighting courtside

By Jeanie Powell - bio | email

ATHENS, AL (WAFF) - Three Athens High School students face criminal charges after a fight broke out on the basketball court.

The three are seniors at Athens High School and the fight broke out after a home game between Athens and Butler had just wrapped up.

Butler went home with a win and three Athens students scored disorderly conduct charges.

Police are saying tensions were high in the stands throughout Monday night's game over some calls and the final straw was when the clock ran out, not long after a technical foul was called.

"Some of the fans went out of the stands and went onto the court and there was an altercation involved," Athens Police Chief Wayne Harper said, although he couldn't elaborate on what kind of altercation took place.

He says the three students got out of hand with some Butler players and fans.

"I think it was more of a scuffle," Harper said.

Nineteen-year-old Darin White, his 18-year-old cousin Chris Baines, and Baines' 17-year-old brother, whose name can't be mentioned since he's a juvenile, were arrested.

But Baines tells WAFF 48 News it wasn't about the referee's call.

He says his family was being provoked by the opposing team and he was taking up for his little brother.

He says it started when one of the Butler players bumped into his little brother on purpose and cursed at him.

He says he went over to help his brother after the team surrounded the younger Baines and soon his cousin was pushed.

Baines says he and his family didn't punch anyone.

A Huntsville City School spokesman says the Butler coach immediately rushed his players into the locker room as soon as he learned a fight was breaking out nearby.

Chief Harper says no one from Butler was arrested and no one was injured.

Still, he explains it was a serious situation.

"Our officers working security at the game had to call for some back up units," Harper said.

Athens High School principal Chris Bolen tells us the three students have been suspended and other disciplinary action is pending.

One of those students says that the suspension is for 10 days, punishment he doesn't think is fair.

Darin White's mother tells us her son was taking up for his cousin and next Thursday, the three seniors will meet with the school board, who will decide what's next for the students.

Chief Harper says his investigators are trying to identify others involved and he's not sure if more arrests will come.

White and Baines will be charged as adults.

The 17-year-old's charges are at a juvenile level.

Harper says they'll be tried in the Athens Municipal Court and will have to pay a fine or possibly serve jail time.

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