Kindergarten graduations are supposed to be cute but the Waterford Friendship School’s ceremony on June 11 turned downright ugly when a brawl ensued over which parent should have their child’s diploma.
Waterford Police were called to the scene at 11:24 a.m. following reports of a fight in progress in the school lobby. By the time they got there, the warring parties had been separated but police were able to determine that everyone involved was related either by blood or by marriage.
According to police reports, the argument started when the child's mother asked her daughter’s paternal grandmother if she could have a copy of the child’s diploma. Witnesses told police that the child’s father, 24-year-old Ernesto Quinones of 40 Crystal Avenue in New London, took exception to that.
Police stated that Quinones, who has sole custody of the child, responded by grabbing his mother’s purse to prevent her from handing over the diploma. At that point, other family members who had been standing around taking photographs joined the fray.
“A melee ensued in which most or all of the family members began to fight with one another,” the police incident report said.
The whole fracas was recorded on the school’s surveillance cameras. Police stated that the video shows Ernesto slamming his mother into a concrete wall, but the women weren’t merely the victims in all this. Far from it.
Footage shows one woman, who the police report describes as being five months pregnant, grabbing another by the hair. The pregnant woman ultimately fell to the ground at which point, she told police, she was kicked in the head.
Police arrested Ernesto Quinones and charged him with breach of peace, with engaging in a fight capable of causing minor injury, and with risk of injury to a child. Police also arrested 20-year-old Felicia Strong of 93 State Pier Road, New London, and 31-year-old Diana Quinones of 40 Crystal Avenue, New London, and charged both women with breach of peace and with engaging in a fight that could cause minor injury.
Correction: An earlier version of this story based on an incident report in which most of the names had been redacted incorrectly stated that Felicia Strong is the child's mother. Strong is a relative but the child's mother was not among those who were arrested.