Many wouldn't have to be convinced that a huge block party in the middle of a pandemic is not the best idea. Though it seems like many residents of Deland didn't get the memo. Over the weekend, a wild block party in Central Florida that attracted thousands of partygoers was broken up by police on the morning of Sunday, May 17.

"Where else in Volusia County does a mob of thousands of people pack the streets?" Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said in a post on Facebook. "The behavior that occurred here overnight was dangerous, senseless, unacceptable, and an embarrassment to our community."

Shortly after the incident, Chitwood posted video footage on Sunday of the gathering that had initially started Saturday, May 16, on his personal Facebook account. In the post, the sheriff didn't mince words when describing what happened in Deland over the weekend.

"Where else are people throwing glass bottles at law enforcement and sucker-punching deputies? How are we supposed to turn a blind eye to someone pointing a gun at a crowd, or two convicted felons exchanging a loaded gun right in front of our face," Sheriff Chitwood said.

The massive block party began on Saturday afternoon and went on until early Sunday morning, and it was estimated that over 3,000 people in attendance. Spanning over numerous areas of the city, the conversation turned to one of race and police violence.

According to the press release, Volusia Sheriff deputies and DeLand Police reported several incidents that drew a lot of concern.

These include two convicted felons' passing a gun to one another; the shooting of a partygoer who is currently undergoing treatment; and a legion of people using objects such as bottles and bar stools against the police. 

Additionally, Sheriff Chitwood reported that the county had 594 positive cases of COVID-19 as of May 17. However, he did not detail how the events over the weekend or the breaking of social distancing rules would affect the transmission of the novel coronavirus in the area.

While the videos and pictures of the huge block parties drew scorn among law enforcement, folks who attended the parties gave a different account of how the situation spiraled out-of-control. 

"This is what they do to black people," one participant told the West Volusia Beacon. "Have a block party Downtown and see what happens. It's not fair; it's not fair."

Despite the clash, law enforcement officials called the huge block party "dangerous" and that "none of it will deter law enforcement from coming back when we’re needed."

*This piece has been updated.

Comments are now closed.
Account Settings
Notifications
Favourites
Share Feedback
Log Out

Register this device to receive push notifications