Officer’s arm broken in melee

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 9, 2010

After an Easter day melee between a group of Andalusia boys and Opp boys resulted in an Opp police officer being injured, a group of local parents and grandparents said Thursday they want to see the city rivalry end.

The situation began Easter Sunday when an Opp church hosted a community Easter egg hunt at the Hardin Street sports complex. While there, the group cooked hotdogs for the community and playing baseball, Opp police chief Nickey Carnely said Thursday.

“It started out as a nice gesture for the community but it didn’t end that way,” Carnley said. “Apparently word came to Andalusia they were having a game and free hotdogs.”

Carnley said a group of “about five” Andalusia teens traveled to the complex and exchanged words with a group of boys from Opp.

“From what I understand, there were threats made and challenges exchanged and the Andalusia boy got out of his car and was then assaulted,” he said. “By the time officers made it to the scene, the groups had left.”

However, by 10 p.m. officers were called to respond to a second fight at the same scene when a group of approximately 15 Andalusia teens returned back to Opp. Carnley said when Opp officer Johnny Floyd arrived on the scene, he observed an Andalusia teen strike an Opp man in the face. When Floyd attempted to take the teen into custody, a struggle ensued and Floyd’s arm was broken.

“What people are not aware of is at the same time another fight was happening down the street between two Andalusia groups,” Carnley said.

Since then, those involved in that altercation have filed charges against those involved, Carnley said.

The juvenile has been charged with minor in consumption, resisting arrest and second-degree assault. A second juvenile was charged with minor in consumption.

Parents and grandparents of the Andalusia juveniles agree the whole situation could have been avoided had the group heeded their advice.

“Really, this just needs to end,” said the grandmother of one of the juvenile victims. “It’s not even as simple as a rivalry in football. It needs to quit.”

The mother of an assaulted Andalusia juvenile said she’s worried things will soon escalate.

“By these boys being so young, they heard there was a ballgame and wanted to go,” she said.

“The second time they went because one of their friends (who was still in Opp) needed a ride. This (kind of behavior) hasn’t just started. We just want it to stop before someone is seriously hurt or worse.”