An officer's request Monday afternoon for additional patrol units to quell a fight between members of the notorious Crips and Bloods gangs at Calf Pasture Beach Park was overstated, Police Chief Harry W. Rilling said Tuesday.
"In the heat of the moment" the officer reported confronting a fight between Crips and Bloods, Rilling said.
Some people in Norwalk "self proclaim" to be members of the Crips or Bloods, Rilling said, but the oldest combatant Monday was 17 or 18 years old, and while they may have been wearing the blue or red colors of those violent gangs, there was no evidence anyone was a bonified member of either.
Rilling said he suspected the confrontation was fomented by messages posted on the Internet by the youths involved saying they'd be at the beach Monday. He said members of the department would be preparing an intelligence report for internal use detailing the gang aspects of the incident.
Rilling didn't identify the officer who radioed for assistance at 5:23 p.m., reporting a fight involving about a hundred members of the Crips and Bloods. He said the officer was patroling the beach alone as an extra work job paid for by the city's Recreation and Parks Department.
Rilling said Mayor Richard A. Moccia expressed concern to him about the incident at the park, and said he would be meeting with Recreation and Parks director Michael Mocciae to discuss security at the East Norwalk location, which overlooks Long Island Sound.
Rilling said the department will increase the number of officers patrolling the beach because, "There's going to be zero tolerance for this type of behavior." The police will be stepping up their presence in the park and making "sweeps" to locate troublemakers, he said.
Asked if Sunday's incident could be a precursor to what may occur in the park this summer, Rilling said no. If you remember, he said, a similar incident happened there last year during the Memorial Day weekend, and there weren't similar problems afterwards.
After reviewing reports officers dispatched to the park submitted to their supervisor, department spokeswoman Sgt. Lisa Cotto said none described a fight occurring. She said it was reported that groups of youths were intimidating park visitors, and they were in the area of the Stew Leonard's food shed when a confrontation occurred. She said there were no arrests and no reported injuries.
Rilling said the groups had been blocking sidewalks and, when told to move, they regrouped in another location in the park. He said the park was closed for a short time after the fight was reported and the youths involved were expelled.
The Crips and Bloods gangs originated in Los Angeles and have migrated across the U.S., according to a description of their organizations posted on the website of the Florida Department of Corrections.