Published: April 7, 2016
“It was very hectic. I thought there was going to be an even bigger fight,” Dunmore High School senior Will Hessmiller told The Aquinas during a phone interview.
Hessmiller is the camera-man behind the viral video of a fight on Clay Avenue on Parade Day, March 12. The brawl occurred in front of an off-campus house while hundreds of Parade Day-revelers, including University students, celebrated in the backyard and throughout the Hill Section.
Hessmiller came to the Hill Section with a group of friends to celebrate Parade Day and happened to stumble on the fight as it began.
“All of a sudden we saw a couple of people starting to get rowdy, and then we saw a little circle form,” Hessmiller said. “I was curious, and I was wondering what was going on. Then I heard someone say ‘there’s going to be a fight, there’s going to be a fight.’”
Hessmiller posted the video on his Facebook page just hours later. He expected 100 likes at most. He was off by a few hundred.
Within days, the video earned him hundreds of likes and shares. Currently, it has more than 600 likes, 1,000 shares and 90,000 views. It was picked up by The Valley Facebook page, where it received more than 500,000 views.
The video gained international attention. It has traveled the Web, landing over at Reddit and CoEd.com. Hessmiller said just last week he received a call from an Irish television personality who requested permission to air the video.
Hessmiller was not the only one recording the brawl. His friend Ellistan Craig, senior at West Scranton High School, caught a different perspective. He waited until the Monday after to post a video of the fight, showing different stages of the fight edited together from several short videos recorded on Snapchat. Since its publishing March 14, Craig’s video received three shares and just over 1,000 views.
Craig said he reached for his phone as soon as he could tell there would be a scuffle, because he thought it was the right thing to do.
“I always see on TV (that) you should just record anyways even though you shouldn’t get involved,” Craig told The Aquinas in a phone interview. “If you record, you could be helping someone out just in case they got really hurt.”
Dennis Lukasewicz, captain of Scranton Police’s patrol and detective divisions, told The Aquinas in a phone interview that police did not file any charges against participants in the fight.
Lukasewicz said police cited two women for disorderly conduct in the same vicinity, but he could not confirm that they were involved in the fight.
“We had calls of disturbances up there, but it was already over when officers had arrived,” Lukasewicz said. “Nobody came
forward to say they were assaulted or anything like that, so because it was cleared, our officers cleared out and there was no other further investigation into it.”
Dean of Students Lauren Rivera said she was troubled when she first saw in the video.
“It really concerns me because we have so many students living on Clay Avenue,” Rivera said. “When I look at how many people were at that house, my guess is there were some students there, but I don’t have any information about students being either aggressors or people who experienced the violence.”
Rivera said at this time the Office of Student Conduct is not investigating the matter because they received no reports from police, students or anyone else expressing concern.
First-year Manuel Cabello Reyes said alcohol cannot be entirely to blame for the fight.
“I know alcohol makes people get crazy (but) I don’t think alcohol is the problem honestly. The problem is the individuals that don’t know how to behave.”
Sophomore Karen Ruiz struggled to comprehend what she saw the video.
“I almost couldn’t believe that it was from our Parade Day because Parade Day (is) just enjoyable for the students, and I honestly couldn’t believe that that was actually at Scranton,” Ruiz said. “I thought it wasn’t and it was just so shocking to me that someone could just kind of ruin the fun for everyone.”
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