Police release hour-by-hour summary of incidents at the Sacred Heart of Jesus Festival

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SOUTH EUCLID -- Police here have released a summary of the officers' reports from the Sacred Heart of Jesus festival incidents.

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Below is a copy of that summary.

On Friday, July 11, 2014 around 1800 hours the Sacred Heart of Jesus Festival opened for the day. Problems began right away when one male was told not to enter the property and did so anyway. He was removed without further incident. Around 1822 hours an officer attempted to stop a male near the entrance to the Festival who fled on foot.

At 1931 hours a robbery occurred on an RTA bus near the intersection of Mayfield and South Green roads involving juveniles that were on their way to the Festival.

Around 2004 hours a (South Euclid) detective working at the Festival notified dispatch and the shift that they were going to be escorting people off of the property. There was an exorbitant number of teenagers at the carnival, numbering over 300, that were not riding rides or purchasing food or drinks. Several fights had already occurred inside the carnival, posing a threat to innocent bystanders, so all juveniles that were not there with their parents were being escorted off of the property by the twelve officers, deputies and auxilary officers working the Festival.

The main exit point that they were being ushered through was the intersection of Dean and Rushton roads. All eight officers, including one K-9 unit, that were working shift responded to the area and, due to the large number of juveniles, mutual aid was requested from surrounding agencies.

A total of 18 officers from other departments, including three K-9 units, responded to assist in monitoring and keeping the peace while the juveniles left the area. (The agencies include Lyndhurst, Beachwood, Cleveland Heights, University Hts, RTA Police, and the Ohio Investigative Unit)

Most of the crowd made their way through the parking lot of McDonalds on Mayfield Road, and towards the intersection of Mayfield and S. Green roads. Officers had to continually order the crowd to disperse, keep moving and leave the area. At one point, a sergeant attempted to arrest a male for fighting. The male struggled with him, at which point another male punched the sergeant in the right side of the face. When he turned around, the crowd began running in all directions and he was unable to decipher who assaulted him. The sergeant did not sustain an injury that required medical attention and he continued on with his duties.

Around 2024 hours, SEPD received a call that there was a fight occurring behind Key Bank at 4461 Mayfield Road. Several officers, including myself, responded to the area. I was equipped with a Tippmann Pepper Ball Launcher assigned to car #48. Upon our arrival, we observed two males physically fighting and approximately 30 other parties surrounding them. Verbal commands were given to stop fighting to which they did not respond.

At that point I yelled "pepperball! pepperball! pepperball!" and deployed six rounds of pepperball projectiles, striking the ground approximately five to ten feet in front of the group, which immediately scattered in all directions. I continued to monitor the area but did not observe anyone who seemed to be suffering the effects common with being exposed to OC, the chemical contained in the projectiles.

From there, we joined with the rest of the officers who were continuing to try to disperse a large crowd that was slowly traveling southbound on South Green Road. The crowd was on the sidewalk, in the street and in the front yards of businesses and residences. Most of the crowd then turned West on to Neville Road. The entire time, moving officers had to continually order them to disperse and keep moving. The crowd would move several houses, then stop again.

At this point, another officer joined me at the front of the police line with the Tippmann Pepper Ball Launcher assigned to car #47. A third officer began making announcements using the PA system on car #43 to the crowd, as well as a motorcycle officer using the PA system on motorcycle #64. The crowd was advised that if they do not disperse, a chemical agent would be released. These announcements continued as the crowd was moved west on Neville to the intersection of South Belvoir. The majority of the crowd continued to stop and go north on South Belvoir, at which point one last warning was given using the PA systems in the area of 1651 South Belvoir.

When the crowd did not respond, another officer and I announced "pepperball! pepperball! pepperball!" and deployed five rounds each of pepperball projectiles, striking the ground approximately five to ten feet in front of the group, which immediately scattered in all directions. We continued to monitor the area but did not observe anyone who seemed to be suffering the effects common with being exposed to OC, the chemical contained in the projectiles.

The remaining parties were monitored as officers made their way back towards the intersection of Mayfield and South Green. One last incident was near the intersection of Mayfield and South Green where two males that were initially at the Festival were both arrested for aggravated riot and one was also charged with resisting arrest.

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