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Cops Say Couple Forced Kids To Fight, Videotaped Brawl

Wed., June 26, 1996

A couple forced their 6-year-old twins to beat each other bloody and recorded the fight on videotape, police said.

Police said the couple, Gary and Tealisa Downes, claimed they only meant to teach their children a lesson because of their constant quarreling.

The video shows the bleeding and crying brother and sister hitting, kicking and stomping each other, the Detroit Free Press said Tuesday.

“The parents were orchestrating it and even taping it,” Sgt. Ed Tomlinson said. “This was definitely against their will. And it was vicious.”

The boy suffered a bloody nose and a split lip. The girl had no apparent injuries. They were taken into custody by social workers.

The parents were jailed on $250,000 bail each after being arraigned Friday on charges of child abuse and extorting their children into the fight. The charges against each parent carry a total of up to 50 years in prison.

The video was given to police last week by the children’s grandmother, who came across it by accident, the Free Press said.

The couple’s lawyers refused to comment.


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