LUBBOCK, Texas (PRESS RELEASE) - See related links below. The following is a statement from Lubbock Police Chief Greg Stevens:
On Saturday, June 2nd, between the hours of 1 o’clock in the afternoon and 11 o’clock at night, Lubbock Police officers responded to at least 31* calls for service in the Parkway neighborhood of east Lubbock related to reports of individuals throwing water balloons and shooting “super soaker” type water guns at each other and passing vehicles, along with reports of multiple streets blocked as a “water war” occurred throughout the neighborhood. We received further reports of some property and businesses damaged and residents harassed during the “water fight” event, which was referred to as “the purge” on social media.
Specifically, we received at least one report of a windshield cracked and several people being unwittingly drenched as they drove or walked down the street.
These calls for service were reported to police by residents and business owners who could not enjoy the peace and quiet of their neighborhood and drive freely down their streets.
Officers responding to the numerous calls for service early in the day were met with courtesy and cooperation from participants they encountered as they requested them to only engage with other participants and stay out of the roadways. However, at about 7 o’clock in the evening, two LPD officers, prior to being on watch, responded to the 2600 block of East Baylor for one of the calls for service. They responded to the call on their way to work because the call had been holding for some time because other officers were not available to respond
Upon arrival, the officers located dozens of participants blocking traffic, throwing water balloons and shooting water guns at passersby who were not participants in the “water fight” event. After observing the chaos which almost completely blocked the 2600 block of East Baylor, the two officers began to work to disperse the crowds.
After an initial walkthrough of the area, and some compliance by multiple people, both officers began to return to their separate vehicles, at which point both were sprayed multiple times with water, hit with water balloons and had buckets/trash cans of water dumped on them. Each also had trash cans/buckets thrown at them as they retreated from the area. One of the officers was pushed by an unknown person and was then hit in the face with water. The officer turned and attempted to catch the suspect who assaulted her; however, the officer lost her footing and fell. In the process of that assault, the officer’s radio was rendered inoperable due to the amount of water thrown at the officer, leaving her unable to call for backup.
The other officer was able to make it back to his vehicle and finish dispersing the crowd by activating his lights and siren on his police vehicle while traveling to the aid of his fellow officer. He was able to call for additional units which responded to the scene, and eventually the entire crowd on East Baylor was dispersed with no use of force by any of the involved officers. After the crowd was dispersed, one of the officers had to temporarily go out of service in order to clean and dry her equipment and put on a fresh uniform, leaving the Parkway neighborhood short-staffed for a period of time.
Detectives are conducting follow up investigations regarding the assault of the officers, as well as criminal mischief and other related issues to determine if the filing of charges will be appropriate.
On Saturday, several LPD officers responded to calls from good people in one of Lubbock’s most historic and well established neighborhoods as they faced a difficult circumstance with numerous people acting poorly and unruly toward residents and motorists. Most of those involved were respectful of the officers and cooperated fully. Unfortunately, a small number of individuals failed to cooperate with the lawful and non-confrontational requests of the responding officers. Their actions of course do not represent how any larger community engages with LPD officers during such encounters.
I applaud the professionalism and restraint shown by each of the responding officers, especially the two who were assaulted during this event. They were faced with an extremely difficult situation; however, they remained calm and performed their job diligently, solving the problem at hand without
resorting to any use of force.
* Note: Chief Stevens released correction to his statement on Wednesday. The correction was made to the number of calls for service received, from 58 to 31.
(Statement of Lubbock Police Chief Greg Stevens via press release from Lubbock Police Department)
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