3,000 Attend Block Party in Deland, FL

 

You didn’t misread the title of this post, but it doesn’t accurately describe the actual event, nor does it suggest the dangerous implications of this type of activity given concerns about the outbreak of COVID-19. Gov. Ron DeSantis has done a very good job of managing Florida through COVID-19, but in spite of his efforts, we’re seeing eruptions like the one described in this post. If other states don’t act quickly to lighten the restrictions on its citizens, we may very well see civil violence and destruction across the country.

Let me summarize the way the gathering on Saturday, May 16, took place and how it was conveniently mischaracterized. First, some people tried to characterize its origins with a planned memorial:

A block party that drew 3,000 people to the Spring Hill neighborhood on Saturday and spiraled out of control had nothing to do with a memorial held earlier in the day to honor a gun violence victim, a family member said on Tuesday.

But the party occurred in the 1200 block of South Delaware Avenue and not at 710 W. Cincinnati Ave. where a memorial for Kenya Alexander was held, said his cousin Javi Renee Collier.

Second, this “party” took place in several DeLand locations, not in any one “block.” Third, that evening the party turned ugly:

Law enforcement, which also included DeLand police, said they were met with weapons pointed at officers as well as bar stools, bottles and jars were thrown at them.

Around 10:30 p.m., a passenger in a vehicle pointed a weapon out the window, in the direction of a deputy and pedestrians while at a gas station at Beresford and Spring Garden avenues.

Just after midnight, at the 1200 block of South Delaware Avenue, two men, later identified as Alphonso Parker and Charles Turner, exchanged gunfire around a crowd of roughly 1,500.

Fourth, to deflect the criticism of their irresponsible behavior, members of the crowd described the incidents as racially motivated, and the sheriff and police chief pushed back —sort of:

‘Because the majority of those in the crowd were black, and the deputies and police were white, we are now having … hard conversations about race, racism and inequality,’ Chitwood said in a statement. ‘I don’t accept the accusations that our deputies and police are racists, or that their actions Saturday were racially motivated. It’s not true, and it’s not a fair conclusion from the video.’

I know that large events are taking place all over the country. If we expect to get through this pandemic without major civil disobedience, the governors and President Trump are going to have to take a hard look at how they are managing this process for protecting the public. We are setting ourselves up for disruptions if our rights to assemble and gather are not restored.

The fact is, most of the shutdowns (whether effective or not) only worked because the public cooperated. Weddings were radically modified or postponed; sporting events were canceled; people observed wearing masks, washing their hands, and maintaining social distancing. We wanted to protect each other and our communities. The inconvenience seemed worth the risks, to make sure we didn’t overwhelm our hospitals.

* * * * *

But that time has come and gone. People are losing their jobs and their sanity. They agreed to a deal but the governors have reneged, primarily out of fear of the unknown. We are all getting angry and impatient with their radical decisions. And people, who may have felt disenfranchised and isolated in general, are chomping at the bit to lash out at the powers-that-be.

Particularly in low- to middle-class communities of black people, the potential for protests and violence are greater. Of course, not all black people are angry in this period of shutdowns. But when they are joined by the few people who are angry, the frustration and rage will be contagious. When you add the tendency to blame law enforcement for the community misbehavior (particularly when the police and sheriff’s deputies are almost all white, working in a predominantly black community) the danger signs are there.

And, there are people who are looking for reasons to destroy civil order and community relationships. Southern Poverty Law Center, which blames white supremacy for the formation of radical black groups, has published a long list of extremist black groups. We have no way of knowing whether their radical ideas extend to violence, but do we really want to test out their goals?

Law enforcement also has a role to play in shutting down this type of lawlessness. Leaders of law enforcement, when the facts support their position, must protest the accusations of racism. Even if the black community disputes their claims in spite of the evidence, such as videos and appropriate orders given to the officers, they must speak out loud and clear.

There was also this observation:

Although large gatherings are discouraged during the COVID-19 outbreak, they are not against the law. Both Police Chief Umberger and Sheriff Chitwood were clear that the police would not enforce social distancing.

‘It’s a personal responsibility. It’s not law enforcement’s job to enforce quote-unquote, social distancing.’ Chitwood said.

He noted large groups have been gathering against Department of Health recommendations in other areas of the county. [My italics]

It would be interesting to know the nature and size of these other gatherings in the county. These inconsistencies in policy application aren’t helpful to any members of the community.

* * * * *

A key question to ask is whether these violent gatherings were due to the restrictions of COVID-19? Or were they random parties that happened to turn violent? And what are we to do with citizens who ignore suggestions not to schedule large gatherings? Since they are legally allowed to gather, should we turn our back until and when violence erupts? These are the questions we have to face and answer.

If we don’t want the incidents of civil disorder (as opposed to lawful protests) to escalate, the governors must act in concert with law enforcement.

Let’s hope it’s not too late to dial back the discord.

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  1. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Susan Quinn: Southern Poverty Law Center

    Not a reliable source of data on any issue . . .

    • #1
  2. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Stad (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn: Southern Poverty Law Center

    Not a reliable source of data on any issue . . .

    Ah, but you miss the point, @stad. They’re saying that tons of black resistance groups have formed because blacks are threatened by all of us who are white supremacists. It’s our fault that they’re forming, and it will be our fault if they act out in violence. Trust me, they’re not trying to attack the black groups–the SPLC is saying we white folks are to blame.

    • #2
  3. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn: Southern Poverty Law Center

    Not a reliable source of data on any issue . . .

    Ah, but you miss the point, @stad. They’re saying that tons of black resistance groups have formed because blacks are threatened by all of us who are white supremacists. It’s our fault that they’re forming, and it will be our fault if they act out in violence. Trust me, they’re not trying to attack the black groups–the SPLC is saying we white folks are to blame.

    Of course!  I guess my thing is I don’t trust anything the SPLC says, even if it’s true.  And certainly, any problem involving white people has to have racism at its core.

    • #3
  4. Columbo Member
    Columbo
    @Columbo

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Law enforcement, which also included DeLand police, said they were met with weapons pointed at officers as well as bar stools, bottles and jars were thrown at them.

    Around 10:30 p.m., a passenger in a vehicle pointed a weapon out the window, in the direction of a deputy and pedestrians while at a gas station at Beresford and Spring Garden avenues.

    And here is what the police were met with:

    Law enforcement, which also included DeLand police, said they were met with weapons pointed at officers as well as bar stools, bottles and jars were thrown at them.

    Around 10:30 p.m., a passenger in a vehicle pointed a weapon out the window, in the direction of a deputy and pedestrians while at a gas station at Beresford and Spring Garden avenues.

    I wonder why there weren’t arrests. Actually, no, I don’t. The police showed amazing restraint. And yet, it is Black joggers who are the most ‘at risk’ people in America. Right.

    • #4
  5. Richard Fulmer Inactive
    Richard Fulmer
    @RichardFulmer

    We know, because the Media has told us again and again, that Coronavirus’ disparate impact on minorities is due to racism and not because of behavioral differences such as block parties.

    • #5
  6. Headedwest Coolidge
    Headedwest
    @Headedwest

    Stad (View Comment):

    Of course! I guess my thing is I don’t trust anything the SPLC says, even if it’s true. And certainly, any problem involving white people has to have racism at its core.

    I will re-purpose a quotation from Mary McCarthy about Lillian Hellman:

    Every word [the SPLC] writes is a lie, including “and” and “the.”

     

    • #6
  7. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    The WSJ had an article in its print edition that “scientists” recommend the ban on large groups continue. Of course, the CDC lists  everything from sports events to weddings in that category. Not all the states have a ban either, and those who do aren’t consistent.

    • #7
  8. DonG (skeptic) Coolidge
    DonG (skeptic)
    @DonG

    Back in the day, Alice Cooper would be blaring, “Schooools OUT FOR SUMMER!”     Is acting like a young adult now a crime??

    • #8
  9. Columbo Member
    Columbo
    @Columbo

    DonG (skeptic) (View Comment):

    Back in the day, Alice Cooper would be blaring, “Schooools OUT FOR SUMMER!” Is acting like a young adult now a crime??

    Because truth is stranger than satire these days.

    • #9
  10. Barfly Member
    Barfly
    @Barfly

    Time for The Talk in the Age of Coronavirus.

    • #10
  11. Barfly Member
    Barfly
    @Barfly

    Big picture: All the various parts of our society have built up one kind of pressure or another. Local pressures create currents as the system tries to relax. Maybe weather is a good analogy. But my point is that those parts of society already known for volatility will vent themselves more spectacularly than more disciplined ones. 

    ‘Course, that’s just an observation that we’re at normal simmering heat plus the new CCP-driven stresses. No prescription for what to do about it.

    • #11
  12. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Barfly (View Comment):

    Big picture: All the various parts of our society have built up one kind of pressure or another. Local pressures create currents as the system tries to relax. Maybe weather is a good analogy. But my point is that those parts of society already known for volatility will vent themselves more spectacularly than more disciplined ones.

    ‘Course, that’s just an observation that we’re at normal simmering heat plus the new CCP-driven stresses. No prescription for what to do about it.

    Good description, @barfly. It makes sense. We also know that as the heat increases (we’re already in the 90’s in FL), tempers flare. I wonder what other bad news we can cook up. Sigh.

     

    • #12
  13. Barfly Member
    Barfly
    @Barfly

    DonG (skeptic) (View Comment):

    Back in the day, Alice Cooper would be blaring, “Schooools OUT FOR SUMMER!” Is acting like a young adult now a crime??

    Ok, true story. The hotkeys on my keyboard aren’t marked with their Mac mappings. I still inadvertently launch iTunes sometimes. Once while getting used to a new headset, I triggered iTunes in the middle of an intercontinental telephone scrum. (Well, it wasn’t really a scrum as I understand it, but the PM was at least checking the boxes.) The first album in my library on this machine is School’s Out. The gang in Chennai was totally freaked.

    • #13
  14. Barfly Member
    Barfly
    @Barfly

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    ‘Course, that’s just an observation that we’re at normal simmering heat plus the new CCP-driven stresses. No prescription for what to do about it.

    Good description, @barfly. It makes sense. We also know that as the heat increases (we’re already in the 90’s in FL), tempers flare. I wonder what other bad news we can cook up. Sigh.

    I wonder too, but we all look to Florida Man, Florida Woman, and Florida Block Party to explore the boundaries. Um, is it Spring Break yet?

    • #14
  15. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    Why does law enforcement just not answer any calls in minority dense areas?  This seems to be what is wanted by those populations.

    • #15
  16. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):

    Why does law enforcement just not answer any calls in minority dense areas? This seems to be what is wanted by those populations.

    I know what you mean, but there are law-abiding people in those areas who are victimized by these arrogant people. I don’t have a remedy.

    • #16
  17. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    The term “Block Party” in this incident is probably a gang party. Rival gangsters show up and eventually it deteriorates into a gang fight. This happens at a gangbanger’s funeral as well. The same thing happens when a biker gang throws a party on a road trip. Rival gangs show up because the word goes out and old scores are settled at some point during the event.

    Some people are there to fight, and they use a crowded event to act out. 

    • #17
  18. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    The term “Block Party” in this incident is probably a gang party. Rival gangsters show up and eventually it deteriorates into a gang fight. This happens at a gangbanger’s funeral as well. The same thing happens when a biker gang throws a party on a road trip. Rival gangs show up because the word goes out and old scores are settled at some point during the event.

    Some people are there to fight, and they use a crowded event to act out.

    Now that is interesting, @dougwatt! Do you see the potential for more of these incidents, given all the lockdowns across the country and the heat of summer approaching?

    • #18
  19. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    The term “Block Party” in this incident is probably a gang party. Rival gangsters show up and eventually it deteriorates into a gang fight. This happens at a gangbanger’s funeral as well. The same thing happens when a biker gang throws a party on a road trip. Rival gangs show up because the word goes out and old scores are settled at some point during the event.

    Some people are there to fight, and they use a crowded event to act out.

    Now that is interesting, @dougwatt! Do you see the potential for more of these incidents, given all the lockdowns across the country and the heat of summer approaching?

    Criminals have adapted to the lockdown. No bail holds and releasing criminals due to Corona Virus will not help the situation. When it comes to gang activity some shootings occurred at nightclubs. They’re are closed so when someone posts a block party event on social media that attracts a large crowd.

    I believe that criminal activity has been under-reported during the lockdown. No bail holds are a social justice warrior program. Releasing someone that cannot obey the bigger laws with the expectation that they will shelter in place, and behave themselves is idiotic.

    • #19
  20. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    (sigh)

    • #20
  21. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Rodin (View Comment):

    (sigh)

    I couldn’t have said it better . . .

    • #21
  22. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Rodin (View Comment):

    (sigh)

    I couldn’t have said it better . . .

     

    • #22
  23. Fritz Coolidge
    Fritz
    @Fritz

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    The term “Block Party” in this incident is probably a gang party. Rival gangsters show up and eventually it deteriorates into a gang fight. This happens at a gangbanger’s funeral as well. The same thing happens when a biker gang throws a party on a road trip. Rival gangs show up because the word goes out and old scores are settled at some point during the event.

    Some people are there to fight, and they use a crowded event to act out.

    Now that is interesting, @dougwatt! Do you see the potential for more of these incidents, given all the lockdowns across the country and the heat of summer approaching?

    Criminals have adapted to the lockdown. No bail holds and releasing criminals due to Corona Virus will not help the situation. When it comes to gang activity some shootings occurred at nightclubs. They’re are closed so when someone posts a block party event on social media that attracts a large crowd.

    I believe that criminal activity has been under-reported during the lockdown. No bail holds are a social justice warrior program. Releasing someone that cannot obey the bigger laws with the expectation that they will shelter in place, and behave themselves is idiotic.

    Yeah, but as they’re arresting barbers and stylists who won’t grovel and stay shut down, then the obvious answer to the SJW (like WA Gov. Inslee) is to release a thousand felons from prison and make room for the shutdown violators. /sarc

    Grrrr. They said they’d only release ‘nonviolent’ felons. One such was serving time for a conviction of being a felon unlawfully in possession of a gun (doesn’t that just shout ‘nonviolent’?). He has now been re-arrested after cutting off his ankle monitor, doing meth for 14 days and not sleeeping the last 7, then violently attacking a 60-something year old woman out for her usual walk. And it gets almost no press. Because mustn’t rile up the peasants.

    • #23
  24. GrannyDude Member
    GrannyDude
    @GrannyDude

    Fun fact: Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood used to be the chief of the Portland, Maine police department. He arranged for some of my first ride-alongs.

    • #24
  25. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    GrannyDude (View Comment):

    Fun fact: Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood used to be the chief of the Portland, Maine police department. He arranged for some of my first ride-alongs.

    Oh wow! Any impressions you had of him that you’d like to share, @GrannyDude?

    • #25
  26. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Fritz (View Comment):
    Grrrr. They said they’d only release ‘nonviolent’ felons. One such was serving time for a conviction of being a felon unlawfully in possession of a gun; he has now been re-arrested after cutting off his ankle monitor, doing meth for 14 days and not sleeeping the last 7, then violently attacking a 60-something year old woman out for her usual walk. And it gets almost no press. Because mustn’t rile up the peasants.

    This is insane. I still don’t understand why we should be releasing them; even if they get covid, they’re still criminals. And then when they re-offend, it makes me want to tear my hair out. I’m with you, @fritz.

    • #26
  27. Barfly Member
    Barfly
    @Barfly

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Fritz (View Comment):
    Grrrr. They said they’d only release ‘nonviolent’ felons. One such was serving time for a conviction of being a felon unlawfully in possession of a gun; he has now been re-arrested after cutting off his ankle monitor, doing meth for 14 days and not sleeeping the last 7, then violently attacking a 60-something year old woman out for her usual walk. And it gets almost no press. Because mustn’t rile up the peasants.

    This is insane. I still don’t understand why we should be releasing them; even if they get covid, they’re still criminals. And then we they re-offend, it makes me want to tear my hair out. I’m with you, @fritz.

    Just thinking out loud here, but would it be ok if they released violent felons for sport? 

    • #27
  28. GrannyDude Member
    GrannyDude
    @GrannyDude

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    GrannyDude (View Comment):

    Fun fact: Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood used to be the chief of the Portland, Maine police department. He arranged for some of my first ride-alongs.

    Oh wow! Any impressions you had of him that you’d like to share, @GrannyDude?

    He was very energetic, and  committed to community policing. He had hair-raising stories about policing in Philadelphia in the 80s, and I think Portland Maine seemed very peaceful to him by comparison. He was very helpful about what, at the time, might have seemed a quixotic ambition, namely to become a chaplain at a time when there were…maybe three in the whole state?

    • #28
  29. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):

    Why does law enforcement just not answer any calls in minority dense areas? This seems to be what is wanted by those populations.

    I know what you mean, but there are law-abiding people in those areas who are victimized by these arrogant people. I don’t have a remedy.

    Are there? You have proof?  All I ever see is hatred of everything not them and protest against any law enforcement that tries to help.  Time to allow these area to go the way they want.  Those that want law enforcement can go elsewhere. Hint: they won’t 

    • #29
  30. Southern Pessimist Member
    Southern Pessimist
    @SouthernPessimist

    Clearly this block party was different from those that my neighborhood throws, but I am beginning to think that activities such as this have almost no impact on the spread of covid-19. 

    • #30
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