Residents ask for apology after street party shut down by Orlando police

Neighbors say police in riot gear broke up party

By Erik Sandoval - Reporter

ORLANDO, Fla. - Some residents of a neighborhood near downtown Orlando say they're angry over how police officers decided to end their block party on Saturday night.

Crowds neared 1,000 people near the intersection of Randall Street and Westmoreland near 11 p.m.

Orlando police donned riot gear and used loudspeakers to tell party-goers to go home.
At the end of the night, those officers used smoke canisters to dispel the rest of the crowd.

"They never came and asked me to stop the party," said Terrance Garden, who says he organizes this yearly event for neighbors to celebrate the lives of loved ones who have died.

"I think (the police) caused the problem," he said. "Everybody was having a good time. When you come in marching up the street, and you have people running over each other, that will cause a scene."

There were no arrests and no one was injured, said a police spokeswoman.
Garden and his neighbors say they feel like they were targeted by police, since the gathering was largely black.

In response to the allegation, Orlando police told Local 6, "We strive to treat citizens fairly in any event, under all circumstances."

Asked if the department was going to conduct a review of its tactics on Saturday night, she said only if there are complaints filed by the public.

"We're complaining now," said one of the neighbors. "We have a lot of people who don't want to be on camera because they're scared of retaliation."

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