Police, deputies deployed in riot gear to Parramore block party - FOX 35 News Orlando

Police, deputies deployed in riot gear to Parramore block party

Police, deputies deployed in riot gear to Parramore block party

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ORLANDO, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35 ORLANDO) - Cameras were rolling as officers and deputies walked the street in riot gear in Parramore on Saturday. But even with the massive police presence, no one was arrested.

Many residents who attended the event questioned if that display of force was necessary.

Orlando police said about 1,000 people packed the 900 block of Randall Street for a block party. Officers said the organizers didn't have a permit, and that the crowd caused a safety concern by blocking the street.

“It couldn't have been the purpose was we were blocking the roadways and things of that nature because we stay here,” said resident Keith Claraidy.

Claraidy said there was a purpose for this event. He said this is the fourth year for the "Rest in Peace” party.

“The purpose was to acknowledge and address deceased people,” said Claraidy.

“People look forward to it,” said resident Trendie Thomas. “And we get up and clean up after it.”

“We want everybody to know that this isn't just some party where we're coming, getting together, cars riding through, people dancing,” said Claraidy. “That's not what it was about.”

OPD said it tried to break up the crowd for 30 minutes.

“It's unfortunate that OPD and the Orange County [Sheriff’s Office]…“When they do their job, they come and they enforce it in a way that they really crossed a line," said Claraidy.

Police said someone then fired several rounds into the air. However, residents said that sound was someone using firecrackers.

“The helicopter,” said Thomas. “I thought somebody got shot, but then when you heard the firecrackers, it sounded like that. There was no shooting. Nothing but love."

OPD said several smoke canisters filled with a white, non-chemical agent were also used. The crowd eventually dispersed, but not without hard feelings.

“There was no reason; uncalled for,” said Claraidy. “These types of things that you don't see in other communities.”

You can't respect nothing else, respect the dead,” said Thomas.

Residents said Terrence Garden organized the annual event. Garden's relatives said he hired eight security guards to ensure the event would remain peaceful. It was originally held to honor the memory of Garden's brother, who died four years ago from complications from diabetes. His birthday was on July 28.

We tried contacting OPD on Sunday, but no one responded.

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