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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

SU Students Respond to Police Use of Pepper Spray

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SALISBURY, Md.- "War on the Shore" is an annual tradition – a lacrosse game between Washington College and Salisbury University. Parties are also a tradition that go along with the event. But police say this year went too far, requiring assistance from three other police departments and the use of pepper spray.
Some of the students involved say it was just a bunch of kids having a good time. Police, on the other hand, tell us there were as many as 1,500 kids partying in the Cedar Crossing housing area Saturday, before the "War on the Shore" game even started.

Students have posted several videos showing thousands of college kids gathered at the off-campus party. Police tell WBOC things got a little rowdy, with underage drinking and officers getting hit with bottles and cans.
Students tell a different story.

"Everyone was just having a good time, no one was doing anything destructive or anything," said sophomore Charlotte Hines. "We weren't rowdy at all. It was just a good group of people all having a good time."

She is one of several students saying the pepper spray came without warning and caught them off guard.
Max Pollacco is a sophomore student who lives at Cedar Crossing. He said watching the students scurry away from the police was pure chaos.
"I was actually standing on my front porch and I just saw this big cloud of like brown air," Pollacco said. "I just saw everyone basically running towards my house and I was just like what is going on right now and everyone was just covering their noses."
Junior Gerald Charles was at "War on the Shore" two years ago. He says this time around, the party was bigger but the use of force surprised him.

"I saw them walking around with the cans and thought it was just a precautionary thing to have and they gave like five minutes for us to leave," he told us. "And within that five minutes, a lot of people were leaving and all of a sudden I just see a cop walk up like right here he stood like right here and just sprayed over a mass of people and I saw cops like chasing after people and everything."

The students we spoke with say police went too far and should have been ready to handle the crowds more appropriately.

"They knew War on the Shore was going to happen, they know what it's like. I just think they could have been more prepared," said Gabby Weissburg, a sophomore at Salisbury University.

City officials tell us a plan was in place. They say they met with apartment management Friday.
Polices say four people were arrested and charged with various offenses in connection with this incident.

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