OCEAN CITY – For the second time in two weeks, Ocean City police had to handle a late-night riot of sorts on the Boardwalk at the south end of town, but the latest incident was more a series of smaller battles than the full-scale brawl that preceded it on Memorial Day weekend.
Last Saturday, police made 16 arrests during a fight that started to simmer at a downtown underage nightclub and escalated throughout the evening before ending about three hours later a couple of blocks from where it began. On Saturday, May 23, resort police made nine arrests during a major donnybrook that started and ended in the area of Wicomico Street at the ground zero of sorts on the Boardwalk.
Despite the differences in the two incidents, it appears a common thread is woven throughout and a pattern could be developing. According to first-hand accounts from witnesses and merchants in the area, large groups of young people take over the Boardwalk late at night when the families have long since called it a night, and while many generally behave themselves, there are clearly some bad apples in the bunch.
Tightly wound groups of young people interacting with each other has created a powder keg and it hasn’t taken much to set it off, as evidenced by the two major incidents in the last three weeks. It could be a reflection of the time of year, with thousands of recently released high school seniors on their own and unsupervised, many for the first time.
Prior to last weekend’s incidents, Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan downplayed the Memorial Day weekend brawl somewhat, noting it was likely “an exception and not the rule.” Meehan said no matter how much police presence might be deployed in the area, problems will likely still occur. Of course, the mayor’s comments were made before the reports of the latest incident last Saturday had been made public.
“More than likely, the brunt of these late night problems will happen in the next three weeks, and late at night on the Boardwalk when all the families are in bed anyway,” he said. “The important thing is that we realize things are going to happen and we are proactive in preparing ourselves to deal with it, and I think that we are.”
Resort police were proactive last Saturday when the first hint of trouble started brewing. Around 10:20 p.m., OCPD officers responded to Worcester Street in response to a reported fight that had occurred in the under-21 nightclub H20, which had spilled out into the street. Upon arrival, police observed two females, later identified as Tanee Donyale Dudley, 18; and a 17-year-old juvenile, both of Dover, involved in an loud argument that was beginning to escalate into a fight.
Both were subsequently arrested for disorderly conduct. OCPD officers also arrested two other 18-year-old females involved in the original argument and fight, later identified as Jasmine Loshae Waters and Makia Shaute Sturgis-Davis, also of Dover. Due to the large crowd at the underage club and the incident that had already occurred, an OCPD officer remained in the area throughout the evening. When the club closed at midnight, a large crowd dispersed and relocated to the Boardwalk near Worcester Street.
At around 1:30 a.m., police reports indicate a fight broke out in the area of Worcester Street and the Boardwalk. OCPD officers on hand immediately dissolved the situation and made several arrests, but other individuals unrelated to the initial altercation began to fight as well. When the dust settled after that skirmish, police had made six more arrests, bringing the total for the night in the same area to 10 arrests.
Arrested during the second skirmish were Lemarvis Kiont Trotter, 22, of Delmar, disorderly conduct and possession; Roger Lee Savage, 18, Parksley, Va., disorderly conduct; Felix Octavius Weeks, Jr., 18, of Preston, Md., disorderly conduct; William Harrison Wilson, 19, of Temperanceville, Va., affray; and two 17-year-old juveniles.
OCPD officer attempted to break up the large crowd using additional police personnel, including a mounted patrol officer, which had been very effective in the riot on the Boardwalk two weeks earlier. The crowd was dispersed somewhat, but a large portion started moving north on the Boardwalk when another fight broke out in the area of Somerset Street. OCPD officers continued to break up the fight, but an OCPD officer was attempting to make an arrest when a male suspect attacked the officer from behind by jumping on his back. This provoked additional suspects to become involved and the incident flared up again. When the dust settled, six more suspects were arrested on various charges, bringing the total to 16 arrests.
Among those arrested during the final incident included Donnell Maurice Acree, 20, of Statesboro, Ga., disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and possession of a deadly weapon; John Wesley Mosley, 19, Bridgeville, Del., disorderly conduct, second-degree assault and obstructing and hindering; Michael Jean Ariste, 20, Salisbury, disorderly conduct and obstructing and hindering; and Jayvon Dontrey Mosley, 20, Federalsburg, Md., Ken Maurice Goslee, 20, Salisbury, and Martin Francois, 23, Salisbury, each disorderly conduct.