An on-campus graduation party at the University of Maryland turned chaotic when police began pepper spraying guests, causing them to run screaming.
Videos of the incident surfaced on social media accompanied by accusations that university police would not have been so quick to wield pepper spray if the party had not been predominately black.
— Theós (@_zensei) May 21, 2016
As people are leaving the party the police start pepper spraying for no reason… pic.twitter.com/03dNmmxuAG
— XecutiVe (@CEORaph) May 21, 2016
.@UMPD you won’t be proactive to stop frat rape, battery, and illegal drug use, but you’ll bring out pepper spray for a black grad party? Hm
— Ian Theisen (@ianztheisen) May 21, 2016
University of Maryland Police Chief David Mitchell told Fox 5 DC that cops did not target the party over its racial makeup. Mitchell said police were responding to a report of a fight going on at the party that may or may not have involved a baseball bat and “weapons.”
Mitchell said upon arrival police found an over-capacity apartment and instructed guests to leave. According to Mitchell, pepper spray was first used on students who were crowding around an officer in a hallway and used again after “someone got aggressive.”
Theo Scoulios, who DJ’d the party, told Raw Story that the police “were being very forceful” before the pepper spray even came out, “using their arms to throw people.” Scoulios deemed the force “a little – not a little – a lot excessive.”
The police department is reportedly conducting an internal investigation of the incident.
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