Grosse Point has fewer that 5,500 people and is over 90% white. However, the town has been jolted after young black males and females descended on their fireworks display and engaged in widespread fighting.
Carloads of young blacks from Detroit came to the event in large numbers. As the fireworks ended, seventy police officers could not prevent them from engaging in violence.
This year could be the last for Grosse Pointe Woods’ annual fireworks show.Billed as family-friendly event, Sunday’s big show of pyrotechnics turned into a fight fest among teens that has prompted the city’s mayor to say the 32-year tradition should end.“I just don’t think we’re going to be able to continue them, at least not at that location,” said Mayor Robert Novitke.Next year’s fireworks can be canceled only by a vote of the City Council, perhaps at its next meeting on July 14, city officials said.The site of Sunday’s fireworks — on the grounds of Parcells Middle School on Mack Avenue near Vernier — was jammed with the biggest crowd anyone could recall, Novitke said Thursday. Although no fights broke out at the actual event, young people in the crowd became unruly, and after the fireworks’ finale, more than a dozen fights broke out among them as they walked in groups to their cars, the mayor said.Police made no arrests for fighting, but did arrest two youths at a gas station on Mack at Vernier for disorderly conduct, city officials said. Police also made an arrest in a purse snatching, although that seemed unrelated to the fireworks event and occurred between acquaintances, city officials said.Moving the event to the city’s Lake Front Park might avoid future rowdiness by limiting the crowd size and keeping nonresidents from attending, but that would destroy the community feeling because residents could no longer watch from backyards and businesses, the mayor said. Lake Front Park is in St. Clair Shores, on East Jefferson near 9 Mile Road.Despite the possibility that she could lose a nearly perfect viewing location from her front yard at Renaud and Holiday, Rita Smythe said the Woods might need to move the fireworks to Lake Front Park.“At least we can police our own,” she said. “They could control it.”Smythe, 64, said she was saddened that fighting broke out this year.“Thirteen fights. One is more than they need. Who does that?” she said. “I really don’t care if these kids are black or white. It doesn’t matter. They’re punks. … Whoever did it, they’re punks.”