Online teen fight could lead to arrests

A YouTube video of a fight between five teenage girls at a Nanaimo shopping mall has triggered a police investigation.

A YouTube video of a fight between five teenage girls at a Nanaimo shopping mall has triggered a police investigation.

Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman, said the brawl happened March 17, during spring break, near the bus exchange behind Woodgrove Centre.

The area is a regular hangout for teens where as many as 30 to 40 can gather at any given time.

O’Brien said the victim was jumped by her assailants and two of the victim’s friends jumped in to defend her.

“These two girls wanted to have a fight and they know the victim through the schools,” O’Brien said.

The victim, 15, suffered a cut lip, bruises and swelling.

Police have had prior encounters with both the assailants and the victim.

“We are investigating two girls, ages 13 and 14, for assault,” O’Brien said.

He said the girls are aware the police investigation is underway, which has proceeded to the point where an arrest could be made within the next week.

Police are not identifying the person who brought the video to their attention.

O’Brien said despite media reports to the contrary, social networking did not play a role in triggering the altercation. There was no online bullying beforehand and social networking did not play a part until bragging about the fight was posted on Facebook and the video was posted on YouTube, which has since taken the video down.

Police are not considering charges against any of the bystanders who witnessed the event, but have taken a dim view of the person who used a cellphone to record the fight and post it online.

“Every time somebody views that, you’re re-victimizing her,” O’Brien said. “This is no different, but the stakes were a little higher, than in Maple Ridge where the young girl got sexually assaulted.”

O’Brien was referencing the rape, posted online, of a 16-year-old girl at a rave in Pitt Meadows in September. Her assailant was from Maple Ridge and the man charged with creating child pornography by recording and posting the video is from Langley.

“At some point, kids need to think about their actions and what hitting ‘record’ does to somebody, because it can ruin their life,” he said.