“It gives you a sick feeling”: OC locals react to boardwalk brawls
OCEAN CITY, Md. – Residents and visitors in Ocean City have been on edge following a number of violent assaults on the boardwalk over the past week.
“The climate has been a little bit intense for us,” said Alaska Stand owner, Jodi Renner.
Videos of fights, police officers throwing tear gas-like substances into crowds, and more, have left many people in shock to see the place they’ve lived in for years turn into complete chaos.
“It gives you a sick feeling in your stomach. We live here year-round. This is our town this is where we raise our families and we have started our businesses,” said Joel Feldman.
The environment getting so bad over the weekend, a family favorite restaurant on the boardwalk decided to close its doors.
“We’ve had intense exchanges with ordering because there are some ill-mannered people and rudeness and it just goes on and on. It’s exhausting, so we made a decision for ourselves and our staff to just rest a little bit and take a break,” said Renner.
Mayor Rick Meehan tells 47 ABC that despite having conversations with Governor Larry Hogan about possibly deploying the National Guard to the area, he believes right now the best answer is to increase the town’s police presence on the boardwalk.
“I think the best person to handle the issues on the boardwalk and in those areas where we’re being challenged is the Ocean City Police Department and by getting the assistance from other agencies,” said Meehan.
Meehan adds that while he’s aware that people would like to see a curfew put in place in the resort town, he says it’s not as easy as it seems.
“If you have a curfew on the boardwalk that’s just going to push people off the boardwalk into other areas and we really don’t think that’s going to solve any problems,” said Meehan.
But despite the current climate, many say the resort town is still a great place, and it can be even better if everyone all worked together.
“It’s a very safe place so don’t think for one second you can’t come down here and bring your family,” said Feldman.
“It is just a different time and we can all make it better,” said Renner.
On Monday, the Ocean City Police Chief released a video to address the violence that has been taking place on the boardwalk saying, “Officers will be working to strictly but professionally enforce the law, and violence will not be tolerated.”
Ocean City Councilman Matt James also took to social media Monday to address concerns saying “Something must be done now to stop these criminals from coming to ocean city. Their behavior is unacceptable and unwanted.”