Two brawls have erupted during the past two weeks in the Northbeach restaurant parking lot in Dewey Beach.
Dewey Beach Mayor TJ Redefer called the incidents unacceptable said he will meet with town and state police, property owners, business owners and the Dewey Business Partnership to brainstorm legally enforceable ways to stop the violence. Anyone may submit helpful ideas to him or to any commissioner, the mayor said.
Video posted on Facebook shows the first brawl began June 1. The video pans past three Northbeach staff members to rest on 10 to 15 men punching and shoving each other. A man lying on the ground is repeatedly stomped and kicked. Many people are visible recording the event.
Police did not issue a news release about the June 1 brawl; in a June 10 email, Dewey Beach Town Manager Scott Koenig said police were not called to the scene, and no one filed a complaint. He said he spoke with Northbeach owner Highway One President Alex Pires by phone about the incident.
“It is my understanding that the owners and management of Northbeach have already or will be increasing their on-site security to avoid any further incidents,” Koenig said. Pires could not be reached for comment on either incident.
In a news release issued June 16, Dewey Police Sgt. Clifford Dempsey described the second brawl. He said police responded to the Northbeach parking lot about 1 a.m., June 16, for a fight that began in the parking lot and extended into the adjacent Ivy restaurant lot on Dagsworthy Avenue. Police charged one man with third-degree assault and another with offensive touching.
Police said during the investigation, Northbeach closed and hundreds of patrons began walking east on Dagsworthy Avenue toward Route 1 when numerous fights erupted. The crowd began to show aggression toward police and refused to disperse, the release states.
Delaware State Police, Rehoboth Beach Police and Delaware Department of Natural Resources Police responded to assist with crowd control. Police said no officers were injured and no victims reported injury to the Dewey Beach Police Department.
Redefer wrote in a June 17 email, “Dewey Beach is ready, and we will act swiftly to protect life and property.
“I am proud to report that the Dewey Beach Police Department responded immediately. However, is it being reported that the individuals involved in this disturbance would not listen to the police so additional officers from neighboring towns and the state police were called to help, and the situation was quickly under control, but this type of behavior must stop in our town.”
“I will not rest until this problem is solved,” he said.
In a separate June 17 email, Dewey Commissioner David Moskowitz wrote that he has formally requested the mayor schedule a commissioners’ meeting with the public Monday, June 24, to discuss the brawls.
“You may have heard that violence erupted over the weekend for the second time this month,” Moskowitz wrote. “This is not acceptable.”
Redefer said the town must take action against the repeated violence without pontificating and finger-pointing from politicians. “As mayor of Dewey Beach, I will not put my head in the sand and pretend that a town meeting will fix this problem,” he said.
In a June 20 email, Koenig said Dewey Beach Police will have additional staff on hand this weekend. “A meeting with the business owner will occur later today,” Koenig wrote. “In addition, the Dewey Beach Police Department is considering additional options for extra duty personnel from other agencies for assistance.”
Editor’s note: Cape Gazette policy is to identify people charged only when the charges are felonies.