For the second time this month, neighboring police departments have responded to calls for assistance from the Dewey Beach Police Department because of a late night incident in the parking lot of Northbeach.
At 1:25 a.m., June 19, five people from the Milford area were arrested for kicking and punching Dewey Police officers after police said they first incited a riot. The Rehoboth Beach and Delaware State Police also responded after calls for assistance.
Dewey Beach Mayor Diane Hanson declined to speak about the incident June 20, instead choosing a written statement.
"I am very concerned, frustrated and disappointed that we've had yet another incident,” she said. “Northbeach is problematic for some reason. It is the only establishment where we have any serious problems. But at this point it is endangering the public and our police.”
The earlier incident, at 1:20 a.m., June 1, has led to no arrests. In that case, Dewey police reported possible shots fired, and the Rehoboth Beach, Lewes, Bethany Beach and Delaware State Police responded.
According to a June 19 police report, Dewey Beach Police Sgt. Clifford Dempsey said at approximately 1:25 a.m., June 19, a Dewey officer observed 10 to 15 people fighting in the Ivy parking and attempted to intervene.
After a call for assistance to the town’s dispatch center, additional police officers began to arrive to the business, on the bayside end of Dagsworthy Avenue, said Dempsey.
“The crowd rapidly increased, became more disorderly and several more fights began,” said Dempsey.
At this point, said Dempsey, several officers were engaged in physical altercations as the crowd began to move toward the neighboring Northbeach parking lot. The aggression shifted towards the Dewey officers after several individuals directed the crowd, which had grown to approximately 60 people, to fight the police.
“Several officers were taken to the ground by members of the crowd and they were kicked and punched,” said Dempsey. He said the altercation lasted approximately 10 minutes.
One Dewey officer suffered what Dempsey called moderate injuries, and three others received minor injuries, he said. All were treated at the scene by the Rehoboth Beach Fire Department and released, he said.
In a June 20 email, Alex Pires, president of Highway One, the company that owns and operates both restaurants, said, "We are working closely with the Dewey Beach Police Department, who are doing an excellent job discouraging loitering in the parking lots after the restaurants are closed."
Dempsey said a total of five arrests were made as a result of this incident.
Christopher Harris, 23, of Lincoln was charged with felony counts of inciting a riot, resisting arrest with violence and second-degree assault. He was also charged with a misdemeanor for disorderly conduct. He was committed to Sussex County Correctional Institution in lieu of a $6,500 bond.
Justin Johnson, 20, of Milford was charged with a felony county of resisting arrest with violence and misdemeanor counts for disorderly conduct and underage possession or consumption of alcohol. He was committed to Sussex Correctional Institution in lieu of a $1,000 bond.
Raven Bacon, 21, of Ellendale was charged with a felony count of resisting arrest with violence and a misdemeanor count of disorderly conduct. She was committed to Sussex County Correctional Institution in lieu of a $500 bond.
Gabrielle Knight, 18, of Milford was charged with a felony count of resisting arrest with violence and a misdemeanor count of disorderly conduct. She was committed to Sussex Correctional Institution in lieu of a $500 bond.
Latre Bonville, 22, of Greenwood was charged with a felony count of resisting arrest and a misdemeanor count of disorderly conduct. He was summonsed and released, but the case is pending.
This marks the fourth time in three years Dewey’s police force has required outside assistance for an incident in the same parking lot.
In June 2014, eight state police officers responded for an incident that took 45 minutes to clear.
In July 2015, an officer on foot patrol witnessed one man sucker punch another in the back of the head. Pepper spray was deployed twice by the state police, and the Rehoboth and Lewes police departments responded.
Hanson said town officials were meeting June 20 to discuss the situation and would take action.