ORLANDO, Fla. - Residents in a Parramore neighborhood are outraged that a block party held Saturday night to remember loved ones who have died was broken up by Orlando police dressed in SWAT gear.
Residents told WFTV they felt targeted, but police said that was not the case.
Police said the entire area near Westmoreland and Randall streets was packed with about 1,000 people and they had to break it up at about midnight.
Sgt. Frank Chisari said the street party was out of control and became a safety hazard.
Police said there were too many people and too many cars causing traffic congestion.
Residents said Parramore has a bad reputation and that’s why the officers broke up the crowd.
“They shouldn’t label us as being bad people. The crowd was contained,” said resident Terrance Jordan, who organized the party.
The organizer of the party said it was a celebration of life in honor of his brother who passed away three years ago, and also in honor of others from the community who have died or have been killed.
Residents said this is the fourth year in a row they’ve had the street party, and it’s never been an issue.
Police said they had to use smoke canisters to break the party up and get people’s attention.
Officers said the party became even more out of hand when someone fired several shots in the air while they were breaking up the crowd.