Nine people have been charged in connection with a street altercation in Ponoka.
Ponoka RCMP said they were called to the 48th Avenue and 46th Street area of the town early on Feb. 22.
“The investigation revealed two groups of teenage males met in the street and an altercation ensued,” said Ponoka RCMP in a news release.
Twelve people were arrested and three men and two male youths were charged with offences, including mischief, uttering threats and weapon possession.
All five are due in Ponoka provincial court on April 17.
The ongoing investigation led to four more arrests last Friday. Three men and a male youth face charges including uttering threats, mischief and weapon possession.
Police said they are still looking for a man in connection with the incident.
RCMP said the incident was connected to the decision by school officials to increase safety measures at Ponoka Secondary Campus on Friday.
Police said they were also told about two videos that had been circulating on social media, one of which is believed to be related to the brawl.
“The social media fallout from this overall situation has been unfortunate and resulted in some people not involved in either investigation to become targets of harassment,” said RCMP.
“Police are asking people to refrain from vigilante actions and remind that any comments made or actions taken that are criminal in nature will be investigated accordingly.”
Ermineskin Cree Nation Chief Craig Makinaw issued a statement on Friday urging the leaders of central Alberta municipalities and First Nations reserves to condemn acts of racism and educate themselves on the issues facing Indigenous people.
Makinaw condemned two videos posted to social media of Caucasian youths threatening and mocking Indigenous youths.
“This vulgar display of racism is indicative of a deeper issue in the country and in this province,” he said.
Makinaw said Ermineskin Cree Nation and the Nehiyawahk of Maskwacis have been “dealing with this type of behaviour for longer than Ponoka, Alberta and Canada were even an idea.”
Makinaw said the youths uttering racist comments in the videos must be hurting if they feel the urge to lash out. He urges people not to seek retribution.
“Follow the Nehiyaw values of manatisown (respect) and kisewatsowin (kindness). Our communities are close in proximity, so we must also remember to embrace Wahkohtowin (kinship) with our neighbours. We have more in common than not.”