Teen charged after attack on family celebrating Fourth of July on riverfront

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A teenager was arrested and charged after police say he attacked a family out on the riverfront enjoying their Fourth of July holiday. It happened around 8:15 p.m. in the 200 block of Riverside Drive. A witness to the incident told police he was up on a hill when he saw a 15-year-old boy throw fireworks into a crowd of people. The group was made up of at least two adults and several children, police noted in their report. The firework hit a man in the group and he went to confront the teen. That’s when the suspect reportedly began to assault the victim. He allegedly hit the victim multiple times in the face before three other suspects joined in. The woman that was with the victim told police that two members of the group then turned on her. She claimed she was also punched about the face and body multiple times. The children were not hurt. Police said a 15-year-old was taken to Juvenile Court and charged with assault and disorderly conduct.
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Police say the victims in the case are Hailey Raley and her boyfriend. Raley said a large group of teens, she estimates at least 40, were starting trouble on top of Beale Street landing before the big fireworks show. “The guys were throwing fireworks down from the top of the landing on the street at cars,” she explained. She says officers ran up the landing to get them and she thought police took care of things. But she soon discovered that wasn’t the case. “We’re trying to get food at the food trucks and we just kept witnessing fireworks being thrown into crowds of people and I kept seeing moms with their little babies running and dragging their babies and these weren’t like little firecrackers. These were big fireworks,” she said. Then one of the fireworks was thrown at her family. Raley’s 6-year-old daughter in the area at the time. The mom had enough and went up to one of the teens asking what his problem was. “I told him he was going to hurt someone and they were throwing fireworks at babies. ” Shortly after, her boyfriend followed.
One of the victims had a gash on his head after the incident.
“We were just trying to talk to them. I was going to be able to identify them and then go tell the cops.” But before that could happen she says someone came from behind and punched her boyfriend in the head. From there others jumped in too, Raley trying to pull them off, they began attacking her as well. The beating went on until witnesses and police were able to break everything up. Raley believes her boyfriend might have a concussion and a broken leg after he was hit with an e-scooter. She also believes she has a broken finger. Memphis Police Spokesman Louis Brownlee said Thursday’s event was well-staffed by police, with 22 officers in the immediate area of Tom Lee Park and 100 officers downtown.

If you’re a victim, Brownlee said, don’t chase after a suspect. Find an officer and go to them.

Brownlee said he wants to remind parents to accompany their children to events like this, not just leave them. He encouraged anyone with information about what happened in the video to come forward and call police.

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