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Dad arrested after son's fight

TAMPA — As two shirtless teenage boys trade punches, a man goads one of them to "slam his head on the ground" and a girl shrieks.

A 54-second video of that fight has been viewed more than 377,000 times since it was posted online Monday. At least one of those views came from the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

Investigators say the man in the video is Philip Scott Struthers, 41. And the teen he is egging on his 16-year-old son.

Struthers was arrested Tuesday and charged with child abuse and contributing to the delinquency of a minor after a neighbor tipped off deputies to the fight and the website video.

On Wednesday, Circuit Judge Walter Heinrich ordered Struthers to stay away from anyone younger than 18, including his son and the other 16-year-old in the fight.

Struthers posted a bond for $10,000 and was released from a Hillsborough County jail.

The incident started Saturday afternoon when the two boys were arguing over a girl.

The fight was in front of neighbor Bernie Rubrecht's house, near Twin Branch Acres Road and Bronco Drive in Westchase.

As he drove home with his daughter, who attends high school with Struthers' son, Rubrecht said he saw Struthers and "a ton of kids" in the road and in his driveway.

"It looked like a normal high school fight where everyone was talking, but nobody was fighting," he said.

Rubrecht — who was not the neighbor who reported the incident to authorities — said he's lived in the neighborhood for 18 years and it's normally peaceful.

But he said Struthers' son often drives through his yard even after he asked Struthers to stop him.

"You can tell there's no control over the kid," Rubrecht said.

A video clip of the fight, which was posted online at worldstarhiphop.com, shows the fight became a serious one.

The Web post is titled: "What-Cha Want Me Ta-Do Ta-Him Again? Oh Yeah, Knock Him Out! Father Arranges A Fight After Kid Talks Mess About His Son!"

As a small crowd watches, the boys throw punches and fall to the concrete. One bangs the other's head onto the hard surface. A man investigators say is Struthers, dressed in black and wearing a thick neck chain, yells from close to the action for his son to knock the other boy out and "punch his eyes out."

Sheriff's investigators obtained a warrant for Struthers' arrest and picked him up Tuesday evening at his home.

Records show that Struthers also had been arrested in 2005 on a domestic battery charge. The charge was dropped when his wife did not appear at a hearing.

Struthers, described in jail records as a self-employed contractor, could not be reached for comment after his release Wednesday.

Times researcher John Martin and staff writer Demorris A. Lee contributed to this report. Ileana Morales can be reached at (813) 226-3386 or imorales@sptimes.com.

Philip Scott Struthers, 41, shown in a video clip, was accused of encouraging his teenage son to fight another teenage boy.

Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office

Philip Scott Struthers, 41, shown in a video clip, was accused of encouraging his teenage son to fight another teenage boy.

Dad arrested after son's fight 04/13/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 13, 2011 10:58pm]
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