SPD arrests two men believed to have started Cotton District fight


Stephen Jernigan II, left, and Harrison Porter

Stephen Jernigan II, left, and Harrison Porter



Tess Vrbin/Dispatch Staff


The contents of this article have been modified since its original posting.


Police have arrested two men they believe started the brawl outside St. Joseph Catholic Church early Sunday morning on University Drive.


Stephen Jernigan II of Lake Village, Arkansas, and Harrison Porter of Ridgeland, both 22, were arrested Wednesday on simple assault warrants, the Starkville Police Department posted on Facebook. They are the third and fourth men arrested for participating in a Cotton District fistfight that was caught on video and has received thousands of views on social media.


"After further investigation, we believe these individuals instigated this altercation by verbally assaulting an intoxicated female," SPD wrote.



The first two men arrested were Nathan Cvitanovich, 22, of D'Iberville, and Dakota Husser, 23, of Biloxi, also on simple assault warrants.


Cvitanovich, Porter and Jernigan are all MSU students, university officials confirmed to The Dispatch.


Porter also received a simple assault charge for allegedly physically assaulting a 53-year-old man on University Drive on Sept. 29, 2018, according to court records.


Dozens of college-age individuals participated in the fight. The incident is still under investigation and more arrests are expected, SPD said on Facebook.


In the video, a man can be seen yelling, taking his shirt off, throwing multiple people to the ground and punching some of them repeatedly.


Others in the video are seen throwing punches, pushing and shoving. Several people can be seen lying on the ground in the churchyard, and first responder vehicles can be seen in the background.


SPD has not provided the call and response times for Sunday's incident, and The Dispatch has submitted public records requests for the incident report and arrest affidavits.





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