19 arrested at Mardi Gras celebration in Galveston
Police: Confirmed gang member observed to be main agitator
A Mardi Gras celebration in Galveston's historic Strand District ended in 19 arrests after a group of people clashed with police.
The Mardi Gras celebration wrapped up around 12:40 a.m. Sunday after a night of food, drinks and fun in Galveston's historic Strand District.
Galveston police said officers were trying to usher people out using a "sweep system." That's a tactical movement performed by lining officers across the roadway and sidewalk. The officers then march in unison down the street, eventually forcing all patrons towards the exits.
Galveston officials said as the officers started marching westward they encountered a large group of people at 22nd Street. Police told Local 2 that the crowd blocked off the street with barricade fencing used during the parade.
Officials said as the police were removing the fencing, the crowd began throwing bottles.
The line of officers was unable to advance the large crowd for several minutes. An order was given to deploy a pepper spray canister in an attempt to try to disperse the crowd, but that failed, according to officials.
Police then fired a second canister into the crowd and were able to remove the barricades.
"Officers used practiced and authorized techniques to disperse the crowd and clear the barricaded street," said Chief Henry Porretto with the Galveston Police Department.
A department spokesperson said a confirmed gang member, who was observed to be a main agitator of the disturbance, was arrested, along with 18 other people. No serious injuries or property damage was reported.
"We will continue to evaluate and train our personnel to handle such incidents," Porretto said.
The names of those who were arrested have not been released.