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Bryan police chief says public safety concerns prompted response to MLK Street fireworks

Chief Eric Buske says he doesn’t view Sundays events as the result of a strain between police and the community
Published: Jul. 6, 2021 at 11:12 PM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - Bryan Police Chief Eric Buske says public safety concerns is what caused a more robust response to fireworks calls on East Martin Luther King, Jr. Street Sunday that led to ten arrests and three injured officers.

KBTX spoke to Buske around the same time BPD released heavily edited bodycam footage of the incident. Police say the video they released was edited to show their safety concerns and avoid identifying those who may face prosecution.

Officers responded to the 800 block of East MLK Jr. Street around 10:45 Sunday night for calls of people shooting fireworks at cars and houses. Buske says those 20+ calls stood out among 157 for fireworks citywide, most of which were noise disturbances.

“We responded here because of what we saw when we got there, because they were willing to shoot fireworks at police officers,” Buske said. “We knew there was going to be an unsafe environment. I think our officers showed a lot of restraint, but we were responding to multiple 911 calls in that specific area.”

Police say more than a dozen officers responded to the scene. Three were injured, including one who suffered minor facial burns from fireworks.

Ten people walked away in handcuffs, including two on charges of assaulting an officer. One of those suspects arrested on assault charges reportedly threw fireworks at police.

“Typically how us and most police departments handle that is we pull up, and we say fireworks are illegal. You can’t have them, and they stop,” Buske said. “That didn’t happen in this case. If anything, they accelerated.”

Buske says he appreciates the support his department has received in the aftermath, and what they had on scene.

“Not everybody that was down there on East MLK was shooting fireworks at us,” Buske said. “It was a relatively small number of people that were doing that, so I think even there we had some support.”

He says Sunday night wasn’t about strain between police and the community.

“I don’t think what happened Sunday is representative of that neighborhood or anyone. I don’t think this indicates a problem with the community,” Buske said. “I feel like it’s a relatively small group of people that were shooting fireworks at police officers.”

Buske says arrests were made because people can’t shoot fireworks at police without facing consequences. No other police video from Sunday was made available.

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