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Police in a Maryland shore community say they were forced to make a large number of arrests after hundreds of participants in an unauthorized weekend pop-up car rally became “unruly and destructive” when the streets got dark.
Ocean City police said the arrests overnight Sunday involved more than 100 participants in what was billed as the H2Oi rally.
During one arrest a state trooper was knocked unconscious when a suspect he was chasing fell on top of him, according to WBAL-Radio. He was treated at the hospital and released.
The individual he was chasing, Jonathan Bello, 23, of Norfolk, Va., was charged with resisting arrest and other crimes.
The event took place without permits being sought to hold it.
"This is not a car show and the majority of these visitors are not car enthusiasts," Police Chief Ross Buzzuro said. “They are here to disrupt, destroy and disrespect our community and our law enforcement officers."
Buzzuro added: “Our policing philosophy is to be friendly, fair and firm. Unfortunately, the disorderly behavior and unruly crowds left no choice but to shift our philosophy and take additional steps to protect our officers and our community.”
He said his department contacted other law enforcement agencies to help restore order.
In preparation for the rally, Ocean City enacted new laws allowing police to tow cars in violation of traffic laws, Fox 45 Baltimore reported.
In an alarming Facebook video, a large crowd is seen screaming and scattering after fireworks are shot into the air as a car speeds down the block, according to the station.
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Mayor Rick Meehan said the event “disrupts our entire community it disrupts the opportunity for other visitors to enjoy Ocean City," the station reported.
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