Police arrest more than 100 people in Ocean City during unsanctioned H2Oi car rally
OCEAN CITY, Md. – In Ocean City, hundreds of police officers braced themselves for what would turn out to be a weekend full of unrest and arrests during the “unofficial” return of H2Oi.
“We had hundreds of officers on force, which is unprecedented,” said Maryland Delegate Wayne Hartman.
Officials say more than a hundred people were arrested and charged with criminal and traffic offenses. They say over the weekend, state troopers, Ocean City Police, the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office and other police agencies were met with unruly behavior.
“A lot of disrespect this weekend,” said Worcester County Sheriff Matt Crisafulli.
“They had incendiary devices and other projectiles thrown at them while they were trying to perform their duties and they were extremely tolerant,” said Crisafulli.
Police say on Saturday a state trooper was left unconscious after a 23-year-old suspect he was chasing fell on top of him. Delegate Wayne Hartman witnessed first hand what was happening in the resort town and he says people showed total disregard for law enforcement.
“As the officers pulled up we were met with frozen water bottles, rocks, fireworks and roman candles being shot at the law enforcement officers,” said Hartman.
Before the start of the unofficial event, the town had been designated as a special event zone, which means an increase in fines for drivers caught speeding, something police depended on to keep things orderly.
But some businesses like Bad Monkey closed early because of the event.
“The managers and the staff are exhausted from the summer of just trying to hold everything together and then you have an additional stress of this event,” said John Fager, the owner of Bad Monkey and Fager’s Island.
Ultimately even some event-goers said it was just too much.
“I probably won’t come back after this year cause it’s got a lot of younger kids now and they do a lot of dumb things,” said Robert Bailey.
Delegate Wayne Hartman says he will be speaking with Governor Larry Hogan about what he witnessed during the unsanctioned event.
He also says he plans to introduce legislation to the Maryland General Assembly this session that will add law enforcement and first responders to Maryland’s hate crimes law to “make them a protective class.”
The Worcester County Sheriff’s Office says approximately 300 unsafe motor vehicles got towed this weekend. They say traffic patterns also changed to help maintain public safety.