Fights, disturbances on fireworks night July 4

Fights and other disturbances at Sand Creek Park and in the surrounding residential area before, during and after the fireworks display that climaxed the annual 4th of July celebration at the park kept Coon Rapids Police busier than usual for that event.

At least three men were cited for misdemeanor disorderly conduct in separate incidents in the park.

As a result, the police department will be looking at increasing staffing at Sand Creek Park for the 2013 4th of July fireworks display to ensure public safety, according to Capt. John Hattstrom.

Incidents were higher than normal this year, although the police presence included on-duty officers, shift commanders, some officers working overtime and police reserves, Hattstrom said.

There was combination of heat, tempers and drinking that led to people fighting, he said.

Jon Phillip Westrum, 25, and Michael Todd Thompson, 23, were both cited for disorderly conduct with court dates of Aug. 13 after two officers on foot patrol in the park broke up a fight, in which the pair were allegedly punching each other with their fists and had bloody noses.

Kevin Robert Larson, 23, was taken to the Anoka County Jail, where he was booked and released on a disorderly conduct charge for an incident at the park in which he allegedly harassed a woman that he was with by yelling obscenities at her, then returned to the park after he was told to leave and tried to pick a fight with a police officer, while using loud, profane language in front of children.

He was allegedly intoxicated, blowing .13 in a breath test at the jail.

Other incidents reported that night included:

• Several people involved in a fight in the park around 10 p.m. fled as police arrived.

• A male, 20, approached a police bike patrol officer to report that he had been assaulted at the park and had a minor cut on his face; he was intoxicated.

• A bike patrol officer in the area of Northdale Boulevard and Quince Street N.W. by the park shortly before midnight used pepper spray to disperse 10 people who were fighting.

• People walking home from the park in the 117th Lane and Redwood Street following the fireworks became involved in a confrontation and a fight after a man started throwing firecrackers in front of one group. A girl, 12, was accidentally struck in the face by a thrown beer can causing a cut lip and a man went to the hospital for treatment of a facial injury. No citations were issued at the time, but some could be forthcoming, according to the police report.

• People at a residence on the 800 block of Northdale Boulevard reported that when a vehicle went across the front yard of the home while the driver taking a shortcut out of Sand Creek Park after the fireworks display, they yelled, then six black males got out of the vehicle, confronted them and a fight ensued before the vehicle left eastbound on Northdale.

• Officers patrolling the park that evening twice had to disperse a group of 50 teens who were verbally arguing in different areas of the park.

Peter Bodley is at [email protected]

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