BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Those who visited the Inner Harbor on Saturday witnessed groups of teenagers fighting and hundreds of people fleeing the area.
“At first, I thought someone was shooting or something was happening, because there was such a rush of people coming through,” a witness told WJZ.
Police said six teenagers were arrested on Saturday, mainly for fighting.
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“This is kind of a minor issue to me compared to other problems going on in Baltimore City,” Baltimore Police Department Colonel Richard Worley said.
Police estimate between 300 and 500 kids came to the Inner Harbor for the holiday weekend. Some witnesses said they saw kids jumping on cars.
“They threatened us,” Brian Walp said. “They threatened to take his camera. It’s just ridiculous, very ridiculous. Where are there parents at”?
The city’s police union tweeted that officers should, “Protect each other and don’t fall into the trap that they are only kids. Some are criminals!”
That comment drew criticism online when some called it racial profiling.
The ACLU of Maryland said, “Comments like this do nothing to repair [the] trust [between community and police.]”
Monday, Mayor Jack Young said that he did not see the police union’s comments.
“I wouldn’t want my family members to be attacked,” Young said. “It’s just totally unacceptable, but it wasn’t all of the youth of Baltimore — just a few.”
Mayor Young urged parents to talk to their kids about their behavior, not just at the Inner Harbor, but around the city.
Baltimore City Council President Brandon Scott issued a statement days after the incident, diverting the attention to the four homicides that also occurred across the city over the weekend.
He said he had been in contact with Commissioner Harrison and the Baltimore Police Department commanders, and that he has asked them to watch body camera and CCTV footage.
“We must hold those who participate in illegal activity responsible, but everyone who cares about Baltimore must also understand that most of the young people who visit the Harbor are not there to engage in illegal activity. We have to recognize that we must provide opportunities for young people to enjoy themselves safely while simultaneously enforcing the law,” He said in the statement.
He ended by saying he will be working with Mayor Young, the City Council, Baltimore Recreation and Parks, community organizations and others to “ensure that our public spaces including the Inner Harbor are welcoming to our young people,”