Savannah police have now charged two Atlanta-area men for their roles in a fight on Savannah’s River Street on Mother’s Day weekend.
Channel 2 Action News first reported on the fight last month after Rob Gray, who lives in Cumming, and his brother-in-law, Jim Thomas, said they and their families, including children, were brutally attacked by a random mob.
Weeks later, Gray and another man, Richard Barnes of Lawrenceville, are now facing charges for the altercation. Barnes was in the second group involved in the altercation.
The day after the story of the fight went viral, Savannah police released surveillance video of the incident. Police say the video showed that the incident did not appear to be a case of a random beating.
“We certainly understand the frustration of a family who came to Savannah for an enjoyable weekend and ended up with injuries from an unpleasant situation,” said Police Chief Julie Tolbert on May 13. “But preliminary investigations show this was not a random act. We will continue to determine all the facts as we move forward.”
Originally, Gray said his 6-year-old daughter was punched in the stomach. Police later said the video shows a woman pulling another woman's hair, but it shows no evidence that any child was hit. Gray and Thomas also said they did not see an officer for more than 20 minutes after the attack. However, police said officers arrived within 10 minutes of being called and reported a heavy odor of alcohol among the Atlanta family. Video shows members of both groups holding drinks.
When Channel 2 Action News asked Gray and Thomas about the police’s report Thomas said, "I can't tell people what to think. I know what the truth is in this video, truth of what happened. We didn't encourage this to come towards us.”
Both Gray and Thomas had visible injuries after the attack.
Channel 2’s John Bachman spoke with Thomas, Gray’s brother-in-law, Monday after charges were filed. Thomas said they are working with an attorney to fight the charge. Thomas also said police told him Barnes, the other man facing charges, is someone from the other party in that fight.
Channel 2 Action News is working to contact Barnes.