Surveillance Video Reveals More About River Street Incident - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

Surveillance Video Reveals More About River Street Incident

Posted: Updated: May 13, 2014 07:10 PM
Savannah, Georgia -

It's a story gone viral. But what exactly happened on River Street Saturday night? News 3 investigates.

It's the story that has given Savannah a black eye in the last 48 hours. The version told by a family visiting from the Atlanta area has gotten the most attention on social media and by local news outlets there -- but is it the whole story?

After reading the Facebook posting Monday morning – we wanted to know more. I got the police report and saw a different version of the story...but wanted to gather more facts and take a look at the surveillance tape to find out what really happened. Late today, police released that tape and some conclusions based on their examination of it. Let's just say the story you may have seen on social media...isn't the whole story.

No one doubts that something happened on River Street Saturday night. Pictures of two men from Atlanta show numerous injuries they say they got when attacked by an aggressive man and others near the Hyatt...since Sunday that story has spread far and wide warning people against visiting the city's popular tourist destination. But video released by police shows an incident different than described. The Facebook posting states: "We were confronted by an adult male who was extremely hostile. As I was concentrated on this particular person, I was rushed and tackled from behind." But the police report taken shortly after backs up what's shown on the video - a man and woman walk through the family group, bumping into some, and words are exchanged. The video shows the visitor from Atlanta continuing to engage the man - until a fight breaks out.

The incident happened near River Street Sweets. Manager Chris Myers, there on Tuesday, wasn't in Saturday night - but says he's not exactly surprised something like this happened, “You know people are drinking and carrying on and for the most part having a good time and being cordial but it only takes one incident.” WSAV Crime Expert Gerry Long says the City has worked diligently over the past decade to improve lighting, video surveillance and staffing to make the city safer, “There's always improvement that can be made but I think as a general statement, River Street is a safe place to be - the more people you have down there - the safer it is.”

There are other discrepancies in the tourist's account. They say a local ice cream shop ordered them out as they begged for help and no one would call police. A girl behind the counter there told me on Tuesday, she personally dialed 911. Police say they show a response time of just 10 minutes.

The Facebook post says one of the women in the group was "scratched up mercilessly as she tried to save the children." The police report states that same woman had no visible injury. And lastly -

The family reports on social media being followed by their attackers as they walked away and states they told police the men were still there, but no backup was called. The police report and video show the others involved in the incident left before officers arrived.

The police report states both men they spoke with after the incident smelled of alcohol and the adults from both sides of the altercation are seen with cups in their hands in the video. In addition – Police say there is no evidence shown on the video of a child being punched – another claim made in the tourist’s Facebook post. Police are now asking for help in locating some potential witnesses visible in the video.

We took a look at crime stats on River Street and along Factor's Walk since the first of the year-- there has been very little violent crime. A couple of aggravated assault charges at the Marriott back in January-at the same time, on the same night - likely the result of a fight. Beyond that - there've been seven incidents of damage to property, two larceny's from a building, and one commercial burglary.

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