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3,000 partygoers claim Florida block party was racially targeted

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Partygoers say a Florida block party was racially targeted by police. Authorities have released body camera footage of the large gathering to rebut the claims.

Florida authorities have released body camera footage of a large gathering, where officers claim they were punched and struck with glass bottles, a mason jar and bar stool.

According to Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood, the video was released after local media reports claimed authorities had racially targeted black attendees.

"I don't accept the accusations that our deputies and police are racists, or that their actions Saturday were racially motivated," Sheriff Chitwood told NBC news.

"It's not true, and it's not a fair conclusion from the video.

"But given everything we know about our nation's history; I also know those feelings aren't just about Saturday night."

Authorities estimate 3,000 people gathered, in breach of coronavirus restrictions, at several locations around DeLand, in north Orlando, Florida.

The video shows officers ordering attendees clear the road and move on. An officer can be seen detaining a man after allegedly throwing a gun at authorities and attempting to flee the scene.

Attendees can be heard screaming that the detainees are innocent and did not do anything to warrant arrest.

"This is what they do to black people," a partygoer said.

"It's not fair."

The Volusia County Sheriff's Office allege that an attendee pointed a rifle or a shotgun at officers and man who had been at the party was later admitted to a hospital after being shot in the foot.

Sheriff Chitwood said seven people were arrested, and two men face charges of possession of a weapon and ammunition, tampering with evidence and resisting arrest.

Chief of Police of the DeLand Police Department Jason Umberger said mending the relationship between the African American community and local police has been one of his goals since joining the team in 2017.

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"We are clearly not there yet," he said.

Source: 9News

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