Dec. 22, 2008 -- Acting St. Croix Police Chief Oakland Benta has a new rule: Get in a fight in school, don't come to Carnival.
As the holidays swing into full gear, police are trying to keep festivities fun and safe, keeping school rivalries and fights from spilling over into Carnival by identifying and banning those who have already caused trouble.
"Christmas Festival is a time people need to be free to express themselves and let off steam at the end of the year," Benta said Monday during a press conference in Hanna's Rest. "But we also need to make sure nobody gets hurt."
More than 50 students have already been banned for fighting in school, he said. Their photographs are being distributed among police monitoring the festival.
"Parents are working harmoniously with the Police Department on this, but we know sometimes kids go off anyway," he said.
Anyone who starts a fight will be prosecuted to the fullest.
"When fights have happened, we have had individuals who had to run for safety, some with children, young babies," Benta said. "So if you start a fight, we are going to charge you not just for the assault, but we are going to top the charges off with several counts of reckless endangerment ... for everyone in your vicinity."
Many of the students involved in fights have been allowed to attend conflict-resolution workshops held every Friday in Benta's office, he said.
"We have individuals who were attempting to kill each other who, I'm glad to say, have begun to sit harmoniously together and engage in basketball and other activities, while monitored by the police," he said.
No hoods, parkas, masks or bandannas hiding the face will be tolerated, and the parade routes will have cameras, Benta said.
Drunk-driving fatalities become an urgent concern this time of year, and Benta urged St. Croix residents to be careful.
"If you drink, don't drive," he said. "And if your friend has had a little too much, please, take their keys and find them a ride, or drive them yourself."
Officers are being assigned to transport people home as well, he said.
In other police business, Jesus Browne of Peter's Rest was arrested and charged with having an AK47 semi-automatic assault rifle during a domestic dispute and rape. Browne is charged with possession of a firearm in a school zone, first-degree rape, first-degree assault, and other crimes.
"Jesus Browne is also of significant interest in other pending matters as we move forward," Benta said.
Police are looking for Tafari Fawkes of Concordia, also known as "Fari," "Duce" and "Isaiah," in relation to the murder of Craig Liburd.
"Mr. Craig Liburd was assassinated June 26 in the vicinity of Old Apothecary Hall," Benta said. "On June 29, a report came in that Fawkes' whereabouts were unknown."
Subsequent information gathered by the police suggests a connection.
Fawkes is considered armed and extremely dangerous, Benta said.
Police are also looking for Glennsly Jullian "G Money" Buntin of Frederiksted and Robin Lucas, residence unknown.
"Buntin is a person of interest who we believe may have information that can assist us" in a homicide investigation, Benta said. Robin Lucas is also thought to have information about a homicide.
If you have information about these individuals or other crime information, call the police hotline at 778-4950, or 777-8711 or 911.
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