Body camera footage shows spectators at Milford street takeover set off firework in front of cop car

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Police from Milford and Derby are both releasing new videos of street takeovers happening in a handful of southern Connecticut towns and cities this past weekend. Police have already made some arrests, but they’re not done yet—and neither are their efforts to curb this behavior.

“The bad behavior could have cost people’s lives,” said North Haven’s First Selectman, Michael Freda.

Freda’s town was just one of many plagued by the problem on Saturday, Dec. 9.

In Milford, police first got called to the Stop and Shop parking lot on Bridgeport Ave. just before 2 a.m. When an officer responded, he was met with a small fire caused by fireworks and M80’s being set off in the parking lot, which eventually hit his parked cruiser.

At one point, a spokesperson for Milford police said the officer was punched and hit by an unknown object. He was treated for minor injuries in the hospital and is now at home, recovering.

“It’s very fortunate, the way you saw everything went down, to say that nobody was seriously injured,” said Lt. Justin Stanko with the Derby Police Department.

Just before moving into Milford, Stanko said the same group of people—mostly from out of state—took to the streets of his city just after 1 a.m. Saturday.

Derby Police released a video of that incident, too. In the footage, people can be seen throwing fireworks at officers and civilians, stuck in the middle of the whole thing in their cars on Pershing Dr.

“They had no respect for, certainly not law enforcement, but they had no respect for civilians either,” Stanko said.

Stanko said the group then moved into West Haven, where four adults and two juveniles were put in handcuffs.

“It’s just a matter of having resources, one step ahead. You’re playing chess not checkers, where are they going next? Okay, have police cars there,” Stanko said.

Stanko said with the help of local, state, and federal partners, police were able to stop more street takeovers planned in Shelton, Trumbull, and Orange.

However, later that night around 8 p.m. a group of 1,500 vehicles decked out in Christmas Décor made their way to Universal Dr. in North Haven, wreaking havoc there. Stanko believes the people involved in the initial takeovers in the early morning hours were not involved in the nighttime ride.

“We’re disgusted. We’re fed up with this bad behavior. We’re not going to take it anymore,” Freda said.

In his town, the evening takeover happened in a busy spot, filled with shops and restaurants. Therefore, people were stuck, and couldn’t get out of the plazas. The whole thing caused a gridlock, which worked its way up to I-91.

“At the same time, there was a 911 emergency call that our emergency management people could not get to,” Freda said.

Eventually, with everyone working together, the takeovers came to a close, with many people making their way to New York, according to Stanko.

“Getting on the same page, everybody working together as a team in order to combat this is what is helping us in getting these individuals out of our state,” said Sgt. Christine Jeltema with the Connecticut State Police.

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