‘The Bayside Brawl’
As the crowd grew outside a downtown Charleston apartment complex Nov. 2, Roxcie Moody saw trouble brewing.
The strife that afternoon stemmed from a dispute at a nightclub between women from Bridgeview Village on North Romney Street and others from outside the community.
Early that morning, a North Charleston woman had written on Facebook that she would “take out y’all” in a pre-arranged meeting. The exchange included 102 comments and lasted for hours until just before the melee. Excited would-be spectators asked for any fight to be filmed. Some placed bets on who would win.
The woman later showed up at Bridgeview, according to the police, as did her allies, opponents and dozens of men, women and children who came to watch.
Sharing their account of the ordeal Friday, some residents blamed the police for allowing the gathering to devolve into a no-holds-barred brawl. The police said they were still seeking information to determine any faults with their response.
When Moody sensed trouble, she called 911. Officer Jonathan Nacy of the Charleston Police Department was there working security, but Moody didn’t think he could handle the large crowd by himself.
Other officers showed up, Moody said, but they left without defusing the tension. She called the police again, she said.
“When I called back the second time, they saw the crowd never left,” she said. “They left Mr. Nacy out there alone.”
The resulting brawl was captured in a YouTube video that led to misdemeanor charges for eight people, including the Facebook poster, 29-year-old Crystal Jones of Madden Drive. In a brief interview, Jones said the ordeal had gotten “out of hand.” She also faulted Nacy.
“It was just a little fight and a lot of people trying to stop the fight,” Jones said. “But that officer wasn’t doing his job. He could have sprayed mace.”
Moody’s sister, Kiashia Coleman, also was arrested. While the police said the eight were mutual combatants who never tried to escape, Coleman’s family argued that the 22-year-old woman was defending herself.
Nacy also had encouraged a fight, according to the witnesses, then tried unsuccessfully to prevent it when crowd members started filming.
“With the police coming, we thought they would have cleared everything,” Coleman’s mother, Bridgeview resident Sherry Coleman, said. “We thought the police was going to protect them.”
After police supervisors learned of it Monday, the two-part YouTube video titled “The Bayside Brawl” prompted an internal inquiry into how Nacy and other officers handled the incident, including why they didn’t write a report.
In three 911 calls released Friday, witnesses reported that someone was going to “end up getting hurt around here” as women showed up to fight.
At what point during the incident those calls were made, though, and how police officers handled them were still under investigation, Deputy Chief Tony Elder said. An officer who arrived to help and later left, Elder said, reported a gathering but no violence.
“There was no fight or large crowd,” Elder said. “That’s why we have to let the internal investigation take its course.”
A Charleston police officer since June 2008, Nacy remains on duty. S.C. Criminal Justice Academy records showed that in 2011, he completed specialty training about how to handle gangs.
According to Moody’s account, Nacy had given the women a chance to fight before people started filming him.
“We’ve got too many TVs, too many cameras,” he said in the video. “It’s over with.”
The women fought anyway.
While their motivation wasn’t clear, Facebook posts indicated building tension between Bridgeview residents and community outsiders.
Early on Nov. 2, Jones wrote on her social media page that she wanted to address all the women “actin like y’all bout that life” of drama.
“I’ll TAKE out y’all,” she stated. “So if u feel like u want some of MAMMA ... I’ll come on bayside.” Bridgeview once was known as Bayside Manor.
Some Facebook users encouraged her to “chill out.” One posted a link to a video of a gospel song. Others told everyone to say “nitey” and go to bed.
Jones wrote that her beef pertained to her losing 10 of her “hard workin dollars” at a nightclub. She expressed a desire to set up a time and a place to square off with other women involved in that episode.
A target of Jones’ comments wrote that unless someone touched her, she was “done talking.”
“They think i care bout losing or winning ah fight,” the woman wrote about 7 a.m. “Maybe if i was ah punk ... it would matter.”
Jones also wanted less talk and more action.
“Get all your ppl together today nd meet me,” she wrote. “No mo need to be said.”
Excitement grew among observers of the Facebook spat who hoped to see a face-off in person. One lamented that he didn’t get out of work until 8 p.m. Another asked for the women to wait another 20 minutes so he could make it.
At 1:41 p.m., Jones said the fight would take place at Bridgeview.
“Please no police,” she wrote in her last post before the fight.
“LORD PLEASE MAKE SURE U GET Someone TO RECORD it,” one of her 2,000 Facebook friends responded. “I GOT $100 on u cause lord knows those hands are lethal.”
At some point, Jones met with the women. Others from North Charleston and West Ashley also showed up at Bridgeview. The melee ignited around 4 p.m.
“Man I missed it,” someone wrote on Jones’ Facebook page an hour later. “Who win?”
Reach Andrew Knapp at 937-5414 or twitter.com/offlede.