According to the Sun-Sentinel, an exchange between Delray Beach police and a crowd of partygoers spiraled out of control and turned into a melee involving more than 50 people.
As described, police saw a man walking down the street and smoking what appeared to be marijuana. When the officers stopped their car, the man ran into a house near Southwest 8th Ave. and 3rd Court. In the arrest report, the two uniformed officers state that they have had previous contact with this individual and that he is a known drug user.
When they attempted to detain the man, about 20 partygoers came out of the house and formed a semi-circle around the officers. They began to aggressively question the officers as to why they were there. The situation started to escalate when some people began yelling at the officers.
Cory Provost, a New York City resident visiting Delray Beach for the holidays, witnessed the event, saying, “There was a lot of shouting back and forth. The residents were asking the cops to leave the yard and they didn’t do so. Then, a little later on, something was thrown. You heard a glass crack, I think a bottle or something was thrown, and I believe it hit the police vehicle.”
In a statement to the Sun-Sentinel, Police Sgt. Nicole Guerriero said the officers called for backup because they were fearful of what could happen in the heated situation. By the end of the incident, there were four officers and approximately 70 people involved, and the entire incident lasted more than an hour.
In the end, four people were detained and now face charges ranging from assault on a police officer to obstruction of justice.
Provost uploaded a video to his YouTube channel showing a portion of the exchange. Sgt. Guerriero has responded that the footage is incomplete and does not show an accurate depiction of what really occurred.
In an editorial published Wednesday in the Sun-Sentinel, Douglas Lyons blasted the behavior of the crowd. Lyons wrote, “This was no Eric-Garner-excessive-force protest. Judging by the police reports, this appears to be a riled-up crowd obstructing the police. Inappropriate, provocative, and downright dangerous are the only words that come to mind.”
He also wrote that the incident is very “unhelpful” to those who have legitimate concerns about police, noting that “it wasn’t the Delray beach police who were in the wrong” last Saturday night.