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Woods chief: Fights 'scared the hell out of our residents'

What started as a fun, family night turned into a night where officers broke up 13 fights. photo by Gary Duncan.

July 03, 2014
GROSSE POINTE WOODS — "Our family event is no longer a family event."

That was the best description Woods public safety director Andrew Pazuchowski could give for the problems that occurred Sunday night at the city's annual fireworks display on the Parcells field.

According to Pazuchowski, officers were faced with 13 fights that broke out among juveniles who attended the event for no other reason than to cause mayhem.

There were no arrests made on the field, but two juveniles were arrested at the service station across Vernier. They were charged with disorderly conduct.

There were no injuries, but according to Pazuchowski the fights "scared the hell out of our residents."

As a result, Pazuchowski ordered the fireworks to begin about 20 minutes earlier than usual, and before the show was over, he ordered the high beam lights located around the field to be turned on.

"Our officers were having trouble seeing in the dark, and for the safety of everyone, we turned on the lights," he said.

There were more than 50 officers, including reserve officers from several local departments, working the event.

"Kudos to the officers who did the best they could to control the situation," Pazuchowski said. "Unfortunately, we had a large group of unsupervised juveniles who were determined to cause problems."

Two incidents that occurred near the Parcells field were unrelated to the fireworks, but still required a police presence. In one, a woman was arrested for shoplifting at the CVS on Mack, while the other was reported as a purse snatching on Vernier.

Pazuchowski said the purse snatching actually involved several people who knew each other and was not a random act. He also said that the rumor that a Taser gun was used on a juvenile by police was not true.

Mayor Robert Novitke said he was disappointed in the events of Sunday night and indicated it does not appear the city can continue to have the fireworks.

"We lose the enjoyment of what should be a community and family event when our main issue is preserving the peace," Novitke said.

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