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Salisbury Police Arrest 5, Disperse Rowdy Crowd With Pepper Spray

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WJZ general assignment reporter Mike Hellgren came to Maryland's News...
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SALISBURY, Md. (WJZ)– Hundreds of people showed up for house parties in Salisbury and chaos followed. Beer cans were thrown at police—and that’s not all.

Mike Hellgren explained police had to use pepper spray to break up the rowdy crowd.

Police responded to what they called an “unsafe situation.” They’re still looking for those who threw full beer cans at officers.

Huge off-campus house parties in Salisbury spilled outside and out of control. Police say 600 people showed up, a number fueled by social media. It caused alcohol-soaked chaos.

WJZ obtained dashcam video from a squad car as the parties were breaking up. Cops say some members of the crowd threw beer cans at them. Other home video shows students on roofs and beer cans scattered down Smith Street.

“The sound of the 600-700 people heading down Smith Street when the first police officer arrived was that of a locomotive,” said Mayor James Ireton. “When we have those roving bands of students who show up through social media at parties they were not invited to, you find how this quickly gets out of control.”

No one was hurt. Five different police agencies were called in to help and Salisbury police used pepper spray to control the crowd.

“You had literally hundreds of individuals out on the street. Apparently, alcohol was being consumed; that’s what our video footage shows. You can see how quickly things can degenerate,” said Salisbury Police Chief Barbara Duncan.

One Salisbury University student, who did not want to give his name, claimed the police response was exaggerated and caused panic.

“They didn’t tell us to move; they didn’t tell us to do anything. They just pepper sprayed us. What kind of police work is that?” he said.

But authorities say they had to control an explosive situation and say it’s happened before. The mayor says Salisbury has a zero tolerance policy for wild scenes like that.

“This was not a safe place for students to be during the day and what they were doing during the day was completely unacceptable,” Ireton said.

It took an hour to break up the party and many more hours and taxpayer dollars to clean up the streets.

Phillip Thomas Guala, 22; James Lawrence Miller, 23; Alexander Iannuzzi Dewey, 21; Samuel Philip Jacobson, 22;  and Kate Elizabeth Hoch, 21, were charged a Salisbury noise ordinance violation.

In addition to disorderly conduction, alcohol, noise and traffic violations were committed.

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