A couple days after the customer appreciation celebration at his Rec Shop skateboard and DJ store was unceremoniously broken up by a caravan of Dallas Police Department squad cars and officers (see video of the party being broken up here), the store's owner, Ben Sharon, seems to be taking all that went down on Sunday afternoon in stride: the police's loud arrival, their arrests of some of the store's patrons, the crowd's disappointment--all of it.
"I think it was just too many people," he says, coolly. "That's what it boiled down to. People were spilling into the street."
Far as Sharon's concerned, that's reason the police eventually got involved with the event in the first place--in fact, the police officers he spoke with on Sunday told him as much.
Earlier in the day, as people started trickling down Lower Greenville to Sharon's establishment and the parking lot it shares with Pizza Patron and Fiesta Food Mart, it was evident that, at least partially because of the more-than-palatable weather of the afternoon, this event was going to draw a crowd. And, sure enough, as the crowd grew, people were indeed spilling onto the southbound portion of Lower Greenville Avenue, forcing cars to slow as they passed.
"It was bound to happen," Sharon says of the police's arrival and their requests to have the event shut down.
Still the number of squad cars that showed to the event threw Sharon a bit: "I thought I was going to get arrested," he admits. And though he wasn't--he was never even issued a ticket--he did witness others being hauled away in a DPD van. "It was retarded. I didn't even know they ran a paddy wagon during the day."
So why the large show of force? According to Senior Cpl. Kevin Janse of the Dallas Police Department, the van and multiple amount of squad cars were sent with good reason--another reason entirely, in fact.
"On Sunday evening, there was a large group of Latin males and Latin females fighting behind the Fiesta," Janse says. "Someone called in and estimated the crowd to be 100-plus people fighting, so that's why you saw so many squad cars sent in to help disperse the crowd. But there wasn't even close to that many people fighting. It was dispersed and nobody went to jail. There wasn't a whole lot going on."
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True enough, Sharon and a number of attendees at the Sunday afternoon event do acknowledge that there was, indeed, a fight at the event. But, according to most witnesses, it wasn't a big deal. Says Sharon: "It was a minor thing that lasted 30 seconds. Just stuff kids do, I guess."
By the time police arrived--themselves hampered by a day in which their computer systems were shut down for virus repair, which Janse says led to a lot of confusion all day long--the fight had long been over. And, admits Janse, though the amount of officers sent far outnumbered what ended up being necessary, they were sent with good intent: "We don't want to be outnumbered," he says.
Still, there were arrests made at the event--all for public intoxication, which is a little odd since a) there was no alcohol being served at the event, and b) multiple times, DJs Phooka and Big J, the events MCs, instructed over the event's PA system that anyone with alcohol on their person needed to get rid of it.
Among the arrested for public intoxication: University of North Texas student Mandi Shing, 23, of McKinney.
"I was just standing there not doing anything and this lady cop rushed up on me," says Shing, who swears she hadn't been drinking when the cops arrested her (you can see her arrest in our slideshow of the event). But when she tried to explain to the officer that she was just waiting for a friend with whom she'd biked to the event, her plea was denied. "I didn't even get the words out of my mouth before she'd violently thrown me onto the hood of her car."
Soon enough, Shing was taken off for booking. And though she says asked for one multiple times, she claims officers refused her requests for a breathalyzer test and instead harassed her about a tattoo of hers that reads "13" (which she, along with many others, recieved from Oliver Peck), asking if it meant she was in a gang. (Actually, that's the stipluation of receiving a free tattoo at Peck's Friday the 13th, marathon tattoo events--each must bear the number 13.)
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"I was riding my tandem bike with a pink basket on the front of it," Shing says. "What gang member does that?"
Eventually, she was served a $385 ticket for public intoxication--a fine Shing says she plans on fighting--and released.
Sharon says he plans on fighting, too, albeit in a different way. "It's not going to stop us," he says. "We're going to do it again. Just legally."
Gonna have to at this point, given all the attention his party's received: "It's been great publicity for the shop, that's for sure."