Township police officers are investigating a fight involving about 100 people — including at least one who was armed — behind The Shops at Boardman Park.
Chief Jack Nichols said police were called to the area Saturday evening, and police later found that a video of the fight was uploaded to YouTube. In the video, several people fight as the crowd encircles them, reminiscent of passages from Chuck Palahniuk’s novel SDLqFight Club.” One man appeared to be refereeing it and threatening to shoot anyone who interfered. “He dropped the gun in the middle of the fight,” Nichols said.
When police arrived, the crowd ran into the surrounding neighborhoods. Officers recovered evidence, including a loaded gun in a stream. Nichols said so far, police have not heard of any serious injuries resulting from the fight.
He also said he expects several arrests to result from the incident especially because there’s video of it.
“If you look at the tape, there’s at least one adult or more. The man refereeing it, he was in his 30s maybe. We’ll see if we can get enough evidence to identify them and then the fighters themselves. We’ll make as many arrests as we can,” he said.
The chief said this isn’t the first time a large fight has occurred near the shopping complex and park.
“It seems like an ongoing thing, maybe happening once a month,” he said.
The idea of fighting on a regular basis isn’t new; it was popularized in the 1996 novel “Fight Club” and the subsequent film adaptation. In the novel, the main character organizes clandestine bare-knuckle fighting matches as a form of therapy and creates rules for the fights, the first being: “You don’t talk about fight club.”
Boardman Park’s Executive Director Daniel N. Slagle, Jr. credited a park caretaker for spotting the fight on park property behind Target about 6 p.m. Saturday and calling police before anyone was seriously hurt.
“Over the years, there have been some issues with kids congregating but to the extent of what this one was, it was the first time ever,” Slagle said.
The park closes at dusk except for those who have reserved a building or pavilion, and guns are not permitted on park property unless an individual is properly licensed with a concealed-carry permit.
“Even though we like to call ourselves ‘The Green Oasis,’ we can’t become an oasis. We’re subject to the same things as other places, but we’re on top of it,” Slagle said.
Slagle said his employees are going to check remote areas of the park more frequently and township police are increasing patrols.