SCREENSHOT VIA KSDK
A KSDK cameraman films people fleeing as police disperse crowds in the Grove.
St. Louis' Pride celebrations took a chaotic turn last night in the Grove, with street brawls and a hefty police response, according to reports.
The weekend is one of the summer's biggest parties with dual events — Tower Grove Pride on Saturday
and PrideFest downtown on Saturday and Sunday
. Long a hub for LGTBQ-friendly nightlife, the Grove filled up for the after-hours revelry.
But the annual lovefest ended with people fleeing as city police arrived in force. A KSDK cameraman
caught the tail end of the discord, which began around midnight. Citing witnesses, the station reported multiple fights along Manchester. Several bars closed early, according to the station.
It's not clear was sparked the disturbances. A police spokesman tells us the department received sixteen calls for service in the Grove area between 9 p.m. and 12:41 a.m.
"They included disturbances, fights, calls for help, assaults, and people and vehicles blocking the streets," Sgt. Keith Barrett explains by email. "Officers encountered a large group congregating in the streets blocking traffic. Several small fights were also in progress."
Barrett says that officers were pulled from surrounding districts and staged at Vandeventer and Manchester as District 2 officers worked to "calm the crowd" and reopen the street to traffic. Barrett says, "No arrests were made as victims could not be located. EMS responded for a subject having an asthma attack and another complaining of dehydration."
In answer to a follow-up question, the spokesman tells us that — contrary to some second-hand reports on social media last night — "there are no indications that pepper spray was deployed by any member of the SLMPD." He also states that rubber bullets or pepper balls are not part of the department's munitions supply, and so would not have been in use.
We're continuing to seek more information about this incident. Were you there? Let us know in the comments.
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