Seven arrested after disturbance during Galveston Mardi Gras

An ABC13 viewer sent us this photo from Galveston (iWitness Reports)

February 10, 2013 4:33:42 PM PST
Thousands of people were out in Galveston Saturday night for the city's biggest Mardi Gras parade, but authorities say the celebration ended in chaos, leading to several arrests.

The Mardi Gras festivities in Galveston ended early Sunday morning, but police say some refused to leave. That led to a confrontation between officers and the crowd which quickly turned contentious.

Seven people were arrested in all, including one charged with assault on a public servant. Police say an investigation is open and more arrests might be made.

It all happened on Strand near 22nd Street around 1am Sunday, where a large group of spectators outside the Mardi Gras barricades threw beer bottles and anything handy at police during what's called 'the sweep.' That's when the streets are cleared in the wake of the party's end.

The police chief believes it was a planned confrontation with some of those involved trying to lure police in and provoke something stronger than what actually happened.

"The actions they had taken were trying to taunt or actually draw the police officers in to make a bad decision, so to speak," said Chief Henry Poretto with the Galveston Police Department. "Based on the training that our people have an their experience, we were able to not fall into a trap."

Ashton Hooper, 20, of Houston was arrested for assault on a police officer. His bond was set at $55,000.

No injuries were reported. There was a lot of video posted onto YouTube. Police hope to be able to identify some of the suspects from those video.

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