More than 100 people were arrested and charged with criminal and traffic offenses after taking part in a what police called a “pop-up rally” in Ocean City, Md., this weekend, the police said in a statement.
This weekend’s gathering was an unauthorized car rally called “H2Oi,” the Baltimore Sun reported. According the Salisbury Daily Times, the unsanctioned event occurs around this time of year annually.
The police said in a statement Sunday that the what started as social gatherings took a turn, and additional law enforcement officers were called in at around 11:50 p.m. after there was “unruly and violent behavior” among large crowds across the city, especially in the downtown area. The release did not specify which day the statement referred to, and the police could not be reached for comment.
People at the event shared videos of confrontations that erupted between police officers and rally attendees. In one video posted on YouTube, police tackle a fleeing person to the ground. Meanwhile, people in the surrounding area urged one of a man to run, shouted “police brutality” and taunted the police.
“This is not a car show and the majority of these visitors are not car enthusiasts,” Ocean City Police Chief Ross Buzzuro said. “They are here to disrupt, destroy and disrespect our community and our law enforcement officers. Our policing philosophy is to be friendly, fair and firm. Unfortunately, the disorderly behavior and unruly crowds left no choice but to shift our philosophy and take additional steps to protect our officers and our community.”
The Salisbury Daily Times reported that some attendees drove recklessly during the rally, revving engines, racing and skidding their tires. The event has a history of being disruptive and for inciting rowdy— and sometimes dangerous— behavior in the city, according to the Times. To deter reckless driving ahead of the event, the city had put in place a Special Event Zone, which under new Maryland legislation lowered the speed limit, increased fines and penalties and enabled the police to arrest drivers for certain motor violations, according to a release from the town of Ocean City.
The arrests took place during a contentious time for law enforcement in the United States. Since May, protesters in Maryland and across the country have demonstrated against police brutality targeting Black Americans.