County councilman blames city residents for fights at Eastpoint Mall carnival

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Photo via Jolly Shows

It was Baltimore City dwellers who crossed the county line and spoiled all the fun at the Eastpoint Mall spring carnival last night. At least that’s what Councilman Todd Crandell, whose district includes Dundalk, Sparrows Point and other sections of Southeast Baltimore County, has publicly said.

In a crabby Facebook post this afternoon, less than a day after police arrested 26 people following a series of fights that shut down the festivities Sunday evening, Crandell went off on city residents, writing that they were responsible for the unrest, and that people living inside the city-county boundary don’t know how to behave themselves in public.

“Our community, which we all love, invest in and where so many people serve selflessly to make special, is under siege by people who do not live or work here and have no idea how to act in a civil society,” Crandell posted on his official page, which has more than 4,600 followers. “All of the work being done to strengthen and improve our community is being undermined by City residents who somehow think it is ok to run wild, intimidate drivers at intersections, and come to our community to do nothing more than commit crime or cause chaos.”

Crandell, a Republican, said it’s on Democratic County Executive John Olszewski, Jr. to do something about the city residents and their unruly ways.

“We have had enough! We have worked too hard and have too much pride. We need answers to this crisis. I am calling on the County Executive to take action, to get control of this situation, and to use his authority to end this siege on our peace and prosperity so we can be the community we deserve to be.”

Olszewski spokesman T.J. Smith said via email that the county executive isn’t interested in blaming specific groups for what happened.

“The County Executive is not interested in pointing fingers,” he said. “We are working with the mall, the police, and the community to come up with long term sustainable solutions. We had similar concerns at Towson and White Marsh.”

He added that Crandell didn’t reach out before posting on Facebook: “We hadn’t heard from the Councilman, so we weren’t aware of his concerns.”

City Councilman Zeke Cohen, whose district borders Crandell’s, said the fates of neighborhoods along the city-county border are “interconnected,” and characterized his counterpart’s words as dog-whistle politics.

“The incident at Eastpoint Mall last night was deeply unfortunate but I have seen no evidence that the perpetrators were exclusively from the city,” Cohen said. “The challenges of violence, homelessness and the opioid crisis are not relegated to one side of the line. This serves as a reminder that we should all roll up our sleeves and work together for a better region.”

Baltimore County police spokesman Cpl. Shawn Vinson noted that because all of the 26 individuals who were cuffed were juveniles, it would violate state law for police to provide a list of arrestees to verify where they live. The department on Tuesday also declined to release the number of arrestees with city or county addresses, saying that information is “protected under the law and not releasable.”

Last night’s unrest led BCPD to bring in backup from neighboring precincts, as well its own K-9 and aviation units, and Maryland state troopers and Maryland Transit Administration police, Vinson said.

He told outlets at the scene Sunday that police had received calls from mall security, as well as several 911 calls, reporting several fights. Sunday marked the end of the first of was supposed to be three weekends for the spring carnival.

Police used pepper spray to disperse the crowd, 26 people were arrested, largely for disorderly conduct, and the scene was cleared by around 10 p.m., police have said. In the aftermath, Jolly Shows and Eastpoint Mall announced the rest of the carnival has been cancelled.

Olszewski said the whole ordeal was “unacceptable” in a statement tweeted out that evening. He also thanked police, and said his office would work with the department, mall security and management and others “to develop a long-term solution to this situation.”

In late March, a group of teens was arrested after a “disturbance” in front of the mall after a March Madness party for high schoolers spilled over into vandalism, damage to businesses and cars and at least one robbery, per police. Cops also deployed pepper spray in that situation.

A series of fights also broke out at the mall around this time last year, again for a carnival, and again with police using pepper spray in the aftermath.

County lawmakers successfully pushed to implement a curfew and other security measures at White Marsh Mall early this year after nine people were arrested after a large fight there in summer of 2018.

Towson Town Center also implemented its own curfew for teens in 2016 after a group of young people were accused of throwing rocks at officers, and after residents and officials complained about young people congregating there.

This story has been updated.

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Ethan McLeod

Senior Editor at Baltimore Fishbowl
Ethan has been editing and reporting for Baltimore Fishbowl since fall of 2016. His previous stops include Fox 45, CQ Researcher and Connection Newspapers in Virginia. His freelance writing has been featured in CityLab, Slate, Baltimore City Paper, DCist and elsewhere.
Ethan McLeod
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