Mother accused of driving daughter to street fight, police say it's a wake-up call

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by Angie Weidinger / News 4

KMOV.com

Posted on December 10, 2012 at 11:46 PM

Updated Tuesday, Dec 11 at 6:40 PM

NORMANDY, Mo (KMOV.com) -- A Normandy, Missouri mother is accused of not only encouraging her teen daughter to street fight her classmates, she allegedly drove the thirteen-year-old to the fight.

Vernita Bruce, 43, now faces up to a year in jail if convicted of endangering the welfare of a child.

Normandy Police Chief Frank Mininni says the fight happened on Natural Bridge Road just outside the police department. 

“I saw a car come down the street, made a U-turn and it stopped,” he said.

According to Mininni, Bruce and her 25-year-old daughter Latoya Christian first got out of the car and started pointing at three female middle school students.  Before long, Bruce summoned her 13-year-old daughter from the car to start fighting with the girls.

“I’ve seen a lot of stuff, but I’ve never seen anything like that in my entire career,” said Chief Mininni.  “It’s sad because it made me wonder what does that girl see at home.”

Mininni says he saw this incident as a reality check for his department.

“People need to utilize the resources that are available to them,” he said.  “All they had to do was call us or the school.”

Instead, he says parents and their children don’t trust police officers and are taking matters into their own hands, creating more violence in the community.  The police department is working on that perception by adding community patrols, special training in how to work with families and a free junior police academy this summer for area youth. 

Mininni says he also wants to coordinate more with the Normandy School District which did not comment on the story.

The police department hasn’t had a school resource officer in Normandy schools since 2006.  Since that time, he’s noticed a disconnect between students and the police department.  That resource officer was funded through a Department of Justice grant, which the department no longer has. 

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