CULLMAN, Ala. (WIAT) — Cullman Police Department says social media played a huge role in helping to solve the assault at Rock the South over the weekend.
Within the first 24 hours of the investigation, police say there were hundreds of comments and additional photos flooding in, identifying people in the video of the fight.
William Joseph Vinson Jr., 20, Zachary Scott Taylor, 21, and Chance Marcus Alan Starling, 20, were arrested Tuesday afternoon in Madison County and charged with second-degree assault. That charge is a Class C felony, which the Cullman County District Attorney says can result in anywhere from one to ten years in prison.
“We were absolutely disgusted and appalled at the cowardly actions of a few individuals at our festival last weekend,” says Nathan Baugh, Rock the South partner. “We had hundreds of police, fire, EMS and security officers on site. It was the largest crowd we’ve ever had with the fewest number of arrests. I want to emphasize wholeheartedly that this behavior is neither widespread nor common at any of our events.”
Cullman Police say in the last 11 years, this is the first time a fight like this has broken out at the festival. Cullman Police say with 35,000-40,000 people in the park for Rock the South at one time, there are bound to be some fights, especially with alcohol involved.
Police are not releasing the details as to why the three men attacked Reid Watts, 18, but repeatedly say the fight was meaningless.
“Nothing can really justify something like that but in this particular incident it was something that normally should not rise to that level of violence,” Cullman Police Chief David Nassetta said. “I mean it kind of speaks a little to the character of the individuals who were arrested.”
Rock the South says there were hundreds of security roaming the festival, from uniformed officers to private security to EMS. Despite the number of officers around, some people say they feel security could still be stronger.
“Fights are going to happen, especially at concerts and stuff like that, but like I feel like security is a must,” says Chase Brown, who broke up the fight Saturday night.
Brown took the infamous video circulating social media of the Rock the South fight just seconds before jumping in to help Watts.
“Him on the ground defenseless and multiple people around but nobody really trying to do anything about it, just watching, I was thinking ‘What if this was my little brother?’ or ‘What if this was one of my friends?’,” Brown said.
Brown says the fight started out of nowhere with a hit to the back of Watts’ head that nearly knocked him out. When Brown realized Watts couldn’t defend himself, he broke up the fight and started assessing his medical condition, staying with Watts until security got through the crowd.
“I was telling him he was going to be ok like he was going to be ok, I had him, I wasn’t going to let anything happen to him and he was just in and out really of consciousness,” Brown said.
Brown says he’s kept in touch with Watts to check on him every day and is glad the men responsible for his injuries have been caught.