DELAND, Fla. (AP/NEXSTAR) — Deputies in Florida say they were hit with cups of alcohol, bottles and bar stools after they made arrests at a weekend block party involving thousands of party-goers.
The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office reported Monday that the outdoor party spanning several locations in DeLand had 3,000 people.
Two men were arrested for possession of a weapon by a convicted felon. During the arrests, two deputies were hit with a cup of alcohol.
“Things continued to escalate as several people were arrested,” said DeLand police Chief Jason Umberger. “In one instance we have a report that a rifle was pointed at one of the VSO deputies.”
Umberger added that someone threw a glass jar, hitting a DeLand police officer in the head, while someone struck a Volusia County deputy with a bar stool. Another suffered an injured knee.
Some party-goers said they were targeted because the crowd was largely African American, but Sheriff Mike Chitwood said the actions by deputies were aimed at keeping the public safe.
“Why on God’s green earth do I have guns pointed at deputies and officers and the crowd, and why are we recovering firearms from convicted felons?” Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said at a press conference. “Lets call it what it is, it was an absolute (expletive) show (during which) somebody could have been killed. Law enforcement is being tarred as racist, and I’m not going to stand that … this was anything but, we were doing our job that we were paid to do.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.