Fight erupts at youth-organized anti-violence concert
Sixteen arrested after event held in downtown Silver Spring
A fight broke out Saturday night after a youth-led "Stop the Violence" concert in downtown Silver Spring, leading to 16 arrests for offenses including assault and disorderly conduct, Montgomery County police said.
About 7,000 people gathered Saturday on Ellsworth Drive for a concert organized by Mixed Unity, a coalition of youth from various organizations that formed after the shooting death of Montgomery Blair high school freshman Tai Lam on Nov. 1, 2008. The concert's theme was "Stop the Violence" and included live music, break dancing and poetry.
At about 9 p.m., as the concert was ending, fighting began near the stage on Ellsworth Drive, according to a police news release. About 30 officers serving as event security responded to the fighting and about 45 more responding officers from various agencies arrived to help quell the violence, using pepper spray to subdue the fighting, said Lt. Paul Starks, a spokesman for Montgomery County police.
The fighting spread away from the stage to the surrounding blocks in downtown Silver Spring before the responding officers controlled the area, Starks said.
Of the 16 arrests, "roughly half to two-thirds" were adults, while the rest were juveniles, Starks said. There were no serious injuries but Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service treated people for the effects of pepper spray, Starks said.
The motive for the fight is still unknown and there is no indication whether weapons were used or if there was any gang involvement, Starks said.
"This is something the police department as well and other sponsors are going to look at and review," Starks said. "…This is an area that is a good area where events like these occur quite often and now we are getting into the season where they will occur more often."