Ocean City Officials & Police Condemn Unsanctioned H2Oi Behavior - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Ocean City Officials & Police Condemn Unsanctioned H2Oi Behavior

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OCEAN CITY, Md.- After this weekend's unsanctioned and unofficial H2Oi brought large crowds and some chaotic events caught on camera, Ocean City officials are calling for change.

In a press conference Monday afternoon, Mayor Rick Meehan and Police Chief Ross Buzzuro condemned the behavior of some participants.

"I felt we were under siege and I felt that our residents and visitors--they were afraid of some of the things that they were witnessing," Meehan told the media. "Some of the things that were going on throughout our community and really it’s just not acceptable."

One video posted online showed crowds blocking an intersection so much so that a police car is forced to reverse. Another showed what appeared to be a car trying to do a burn out and instead, hitting pedestrians.

Buzzuro expressed gratitude to the businesses and residents who supported the multiple law enforcement agencies in town this weekend. The Worcester County Sheriff's Office, Maryland State Police, Maryland Natural Resources Police and Maryland Transportation Police worked alongside Ocean City police officers to help patrol the event. Collectively, thousands of citations and warnings were issued, as well as at least 121 arrests. Buzzuro said the agencies worked together well and said despite the viral videos, overall the departments were able to manage the crowds.

"What occurred over this weekend was intolerable and the level of disrespect is something that we had never seen," he said. "I want to stress this point that the group of individuals this weekend it’s not necessarily they had issue with our residency there, an issue with law enforcement."

Buzzuro said each incident that involved a firearm or taser will be looked at as part of the department's review process to determine the officer responded appropriately.

A moderator for the unsanctioned event's Facebook page expressed support for police officers on Monday.

"We would like the residents, businesses, and Law Enforcement of Ocean City to know we share their frustration with how the weekend went. It is unfortunate that the small portion of this car community has set the tone for future gatherings," wrote Steven Walker. "It is the H2o communities [sic] hope that local officials utilize this opportunity to think outside the box when it comes to working with the car community to ensure future gatherings are safe and continue for many more year."
 
Worcester County Sheriff's Office Lt. Ed Schreier said the county will be ready to help again in the future.
 
"We’re going to be out here to serve our community with all the resources that the sheriffs office has," he told WRDE. "We’re going to continue to support our community and to keep our citizens safe. We’re going to try to plan for any kind of events that we see coming up on the horizon and respond to them appropriately."
 
Meehan said the town intends to ask for more help for future events, with Buzurro suggesting more deterrents like higher fines as an option. Meehan said "everything is on the table" as they plan for the future.
 
"We went before the state legislature last year to ask for additions to our special event zone and we were denied. They had concerns about some of the things we asked for," he said. "Well I certainly hope the proof of what occurred this weekend will help satisfy and justify our request when we go back to the state legislature this year."
 
A Facebook event circulating appears to show plans for another unsanctioned H2Oi event in just two weeks. The city says it is aware of the post and will plan and respond accordingly. 
 
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