BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Four people were arrested in connection to a series of fights during and after a high school football game Friday night at Robert E. Rich All-High Stadium in Buffalo, police commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said Saturday.
Gramaglia said that multiple fights in the stands spilled over outside the stadium and caused problems for BPS security, school resource officers and police, leading to the decision to end the game. Buffalo Public Schools athletics director Michael House said he made the call to end the game between Bennett and McKinley after halftime, citing one fight between two teenagers in the stands.
“During the egress, a lot more fights started outside,” Gramaglia said. “They started coming after our police officers from the stands, they were throwing things outside the stadium at our police officers that were outside on Mercer Street, it got very chaotic.”
On Monday, Buffalo police announced that four people were charged. A 14-year-old and a 15-year-old are charged with resisting arrest and obstruction of justice, while another 15-year-old is charged with obstruction of justice. In addition, 46-year-old Delshon Taylor of Kenmore is charged with obstruction of justice and multiple counts of disorderly conduct.
“Our officers put up with a lot last night,” Gramaglia said. “I commend them for how they were able to restore peace and order and get people dispersed out of there. They took a lot of resources to get that dispersed last night.”
Gramaglia said four Buffalo precincts sent officers to the scene. Gramaglia said assaults and large fights broke out, requiring the use of a taser and pepper spray to break up the crowds. The police commissioner also said a few police vehicles sustained tire damage.
“It’s a shame that it gets to this,” Gramaglia said. “You’ve got two high school programs that want to go out and have a good football game and you want the students to be able to go out and enjoy a football game and support their team, but this is ridiculous. We have to deploy a lot of resources to deal with this and that’s not what should happen.”
Gramaglia said the police department is in regular contact with BPS superintendent Tonja M. Williams and will closely consult with district officials on security measures at future games. Coinciding with the start of the school year, police have upped their patrol presence around Chippewa Street, Main Street, the Central Library and Fountain Plaza, which will continue for the foreseeable future.
Gramaglia said as the department seeks to keep students and the community safe, it is asking parents, family members and guardians of children and teens to be proactive.
“You’ve got to talk to your kids,” Gramaglia said. “You gotta talk to them about right and wrong … about what they’re doing at school, what they’re doing after school, not to hang out around downtown. And if you need help let us know. We’re not just looking to make arrests where we can, we’re also looking to provide resources and services.”
Gramaglia said disruptive or violent behavior will not be tolerated.
“Unfortunately,” he said, “I want these young people, these high schoolers to understand. We will make arrests where necessary and we will get information to the schools, they will also take disciplinary action at the schools. The superintendent is being very, very proactive about this, particularly with her messaging to the parents.”
Justin McMullen is a Western New York native who joined the News 4 team in 2023. You can read more of his work here.