Police say downtown OpSail crowds were well-behaved

New London - Police reported no major problems in the downtown and venue areas during this weekend's OpSail/Sailfest festivities, but in separate incidents Friday and Saturday nights, gunshots were fired and assaults reported on surrounding city streets.

No major medical emergencies were reported, either, except for several heat-related illnesses.

Police Deputy Chief Peter Reichard said the "serious stuff" did not happen at any of the three main venue sites - City Pier, Fort Trumbull or State Pier - and most downtown fights and arrests were related to the crowded bar scene after Saturday night's fireworks display.

"It was like a really busy, busy bar closing night," Reichard said. "We saw a large influx of people who were enjoying themselves and having a good time."

More than 15 people were arrested for various crimes from Friday evening through Sunday morning. People from outside the city accounted for five of the nine arrests between 4 p.m. Saturday and 4 a.m. Sunday and Reichard said most of those arrests involved intoxicated individuals.

Reichard said Travon Brown, 22, was carrying a rubber mallet and waving it in a threatening manner around 12:30 a.m. Sunday near the crowded intersection of Bank and Golden streets. Brown, of last know address 22 Brainard St., was charged with carrying a dangerous weapon and interfering with an officer.

During a different arrest, Reichard said one man, arrested outside a downtown gas station on Bank Street, allegedly spit on officers. After his 1 a.m. arrest Sunday outside 268 Bank St., police charged Jonathan Olivencia, 22, of 52 Ring Drive, Groton, with two counts of breach of peace, two counts of assault on an officer, interfering with an officer and third-degree assault.

In another downtown incident, Reichard said Tropical Breeze, a Golden Street bar, was shut down for the night early Sunday after a woman was hit in the face with a fist or a bottle. No arrests were made, Reichard said.

On Friday night, Reichard said an armed robbery and shots fired were reported around 9:45 p.m. near Cedar Grove Avenue and Waller Street. Then, on Saturday night, around 9:30, as the city's fireworks display began, several more shots were fired in the vicinity of 163 Huntington Ave. No one was found injured in either shooting, Reichard said, and no arrests have been made. The incidents remain under investigation and do not appear to be connected, Reichard said.

Two assaults were reported Sunday morning outside the immediate downtown area, Reichard said. One man was allegedly attacked by two other men near 74 West St. around 3:30 a.m. while another man was found to have been stabbed in front of 33 Tilley St. around 5:15 a.m. No arrests were made and Reichard said neither incident was attributed to the Sailfest/OpSail events.

Reichard said a steady police presence downtown all weekend kept visitors on their best behavior. Even the notorious traffic congestion following Saturday night's fireworks was "from what I understand, the smoothest it's been in years," Reichard said.

"There were very few issues we were having," he said. "Everyone was cooperative, having a good time and making do with the heat and humidity."

The heat was the biggest cause of distress and Lawrence & Memorial Hospital, which ran three aid stations downtown over the weekend, treated a "steady volume" of visitors for heat-related issues, hospital spokesman Mike O'Farrell said Monday. Patient volume at the emergency department of the main hospital was normal on Friday, he said, and "a bit heavier than usual" on Saturday evening. There was no clear trend among the cases accounting for the increase, he added.

Staff Writer Judy Benson contributed to this report.



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