NEW ORLEANS, La. - A brawl on Bourbon Street was caught on camera and at least two Holy Cross students now face the possibility of jail time for their alleged involvement in the fist fight.
Officers say it took about seven minutes for the arrests to be made, however the incident is still being investigated by New Orleans police.
A request for interview or a statement from Holy Cross was denied by school officials, but according to The New Orleans Advocate, one of the students arrested supposedly punched someone after a racial slur was said.
The cell phone video seen on the New Orleans Advocate, is just over a minute long. It shows punches being thrown among multiple people, allegedly including 18-year-old Holy Cross student and football player, Rhett Weidenbacher.
"To me that's kind of crazy," Tony Williams said. "I have boys who are now men, but for my kids to be in high school and out at that age, it never, never would've happened."
"Why do it and why be out that late?" Jamie Lewno asked. "Nothing good happens after midnight so why are you there?"
New Orleans Police say around 4:10 a.m., Eighth District officers were on patrol in the area when they were alerted by a passing motorist of a fight occurring at the intersection. Upon arrival, officers discovered a male subject on the ground and suffering from apparent head trauma to the face and back of his head. Additional officers and EMS were called to the scene to assist.
"At 4:00 a.m. they should be home," Frank Sexton said.
Meanwhile, officers were made aware of a fight occurring near the same location. Upon arrival, officers learned that two males, both reportedly with blood visible on their clothing, had fled toward Canal Street. During a canvas of the area, officers discovered two subjects, identified as 18-year-old Rhett Weidenbacher and 18-year-old Christopher Collet, at the intersection of Canal and Dauphine streets matching the description witnesses provided from the incidents. Officers placed both subjects in custody and transported them to the Eighth District station.
According to NOPD, "...as the investigation into the incident progressed, detectives were able to positively identify Weidenbacher as the suspect who allegedly struck one of the victims multiple times with a closed fist, causing the victim to fall to the ground and strike his head on the cement street curb. Detectives were also able to identify Collet as the perpetrator in the second reported fight, having allegedly struck the victim multiple times with a closed fist."
Weidenbacher and Collet were arrested and face charges of simple battery and second degree battery. WWL Legal Analyst, Pauline Hardin, says if found guilty, they could face some serious consequences.
"Second degree battery is a felony and the possible ramifications of that are a $2,000 fine and up to eight years in jail," Hardin said. "Simple battery is a misdemeanor and so that's a much smaller fine and up to six months in jail. Keep in mind the district attorney has to screen the case. Just because the police arrested the young men, doesn't mean the district attorney is going to accept the charges."
According to the New Orleans Advocate, Weidenbacher had a second degree battery charge from March, erased from his record Friday. He had "entered a pre-trial diversion program" and successfully completed it, erasing it from his record. Weidenbacher, who had also helped take the football team to victory Friday, celebrated his 18th birthday Saturday.
"I would think any judge looking at a first offender, because he would be a first offender since he doesn't have a previous conviction, would not be contemplating an 8-year prison term," Hardin said. "Probation might even be possible for a situation like that. If one of these young men has previously faced a second degree battery charge and the state either refused the charges or put him in a pre-trial diversionary program and gave him a second chance, they're not going to feel lenient towards him the second time. I think that that's going to be a factor in what the State decides to do when they screen the case."
Meanwhile people are trying to understand why.
"It's sad," Williams said. "But unfortunately as the old saying goes if you do the crime you do the time and that may sound harsh but in reality that's part of what happens when you make decisions. You have to live with the results."
"That's horrible," said Lewno. "Like that's the way you start your life off. At 18-years-old you're supposed to graduate high school and go to college and have big dreams."