Grand Haven Tribune: South pier closed after brawl

South pier closed after brawl

Tribune Staff • Jul 4, 2019 at 7:17 PM

A Grand Haven Department of Public Safety beach patrol officer encountered a fight involving approximately 20 women on Grand Haven’s south pier at about 4:30 p.m. Thursday.

The women were among a crowd of 150-200 young adults that had gathered and were blocking the middle of the pier, said Grand Haven Public Safety Director Jeff Hawke.

The officer attempted to break up the fight and gave commands ordering those fighting to stop. The commands were ignored, so the officer used OC (pepper) spray to break up the fight.

One of the women involved in the fight jumped in the channel to escape the officer’s spray. She was not a strong swimmer, so the officer had to help her back onto the pier.

The others involved in the fight fled as the police officer was helping the woman in the channel. Some members of the crowd then yelled profanities at the officer, Hawke said.

Additional police officers responded to the scene, but they were slowed by traffic conditions on Harbor Drive. State conservation officers stationed at Grand Haven State Park went to the pier to assist.

Once more officers arrived, the crowd was cleared and the pier was closed. The danger to the public and responding officers posed by the possibility of the hostile crowd reforming was the main concern behind the decision to close the pier, Hawke said.

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