Police probe brawl at Meade

June 20, 2007

Anne Arundel County police launched an internal investigation yesterday into a brawl at Meade High School that ended with 11 students arrested and officers and teenagers bruised and cut, but they also defended their actions.

Police responded to complaints alleging excessive force, filed by parents of several of the students arrested in Friday's melee.

"Based on the information that the department has at this time, the department believes the officers used great restraint and acted appropriately, preventing an escalation to what could have been a very dangerous situation," Cpl. Mark Shawkey, a department spokesman, said in a prepared statement.

The fight, which erupted over a stolen cell phone, grew as students attacked officers trying to restore order in the crowded school gym, police said.

At least three students went to local hospitals, while police said that five officers suffered minor injuries but did not require hospitalization.

The fracas was captured on several students' cell phone cameras and posted on YouTube and MySpace; police said yesterday they are examining those Internet videos as part of their investigation.

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