Bryan resident says police response to fireworks was “uncalled for”

Police said they were in the neighborhood because of 911 calls from residents, drivers
Published: Jul. 7, 2021 at 6:20 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 7, 2021 at 6:23 PM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - Many in Bryan’s eastside community are still struggling to understand how July 4th celebrations turned into chaos.

The Bryan Police Department said they got over 20 9-1-1 calls Sunday night for fireworks, gunfire, disturbances, criminal mischief, and threats in the area of East Martin Luther King Street and Military Drive. Tuesday, the department released edited body and dash camera videos showing what it was like for residents and officers on July 4.

“It felt like a war. Didn’t feel comfortable, didn’t feel safe,” said Bryan resident Walkie Parnell.

Parnell was visiting her sister Sunday when things turned chaotic. She said the response to the neighborhood by Bryan officers was uncalled for.

“We walked up the street, and all we could see was a lot of police everywhere and of course, you know, people outside celebrating the Fourth of July. What we didn’t understand is why this neighborhood was being targeted with police for the Fourth of July holiday,” said Parnell.

In an interview with KBTX Tuesday, Bryan Police Chief Eric Buske said his officers were in the neighborhood because of calls from residents and drivers claiming fireworks were being shot at people, homes and passing cars. Parnell said the video released Tuesday by the department only shows one perspective.

“People were throwing firecrackers at them, which wasn’t right, but they didn’t show the incident to where they hemmed the young man up on their wall and pushed two, three kids down. They didn’t show that part,” Parnell said.

KBTX took these concerns to Bryan police. Chief Buske wasn’t available Wednesday for an on-camera interview, but did release a statement:

Parnell believes, at the end of the day, respect is a two-way street and the situation could have been handled differently.

“I just feel like, as Black people, we get treated poorly. People was just trying to have a good time and celebrate the holiday. And I feel like we got harassed,” said Parnell.

Bryan City Councilmember Prentiss Madison, who represents the neighborhood off MLK and Military Drive, and Mayor Andrew Nelson released a statement Wednesday:

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