4th of July beach bash sparks online outrage

Posted at 11:36 AM, Jul 06, 2015
and last updated 2015-07-06 18:51:20-04

ST. JOSEPH, Mich. -- A large Fourth of July gathering at Silver Beach is sparking a backlash online.

A video posted Sunday by Rusty Edwards shows a large crowd partying on the beach and has been viewed more than 20,000 times as of Monday morning.   A photo of the incident posted on Facebook has been shared more than 4,000 times.

Five arrests were made in connection with the incident: one for assault, two for controlled substance violations and two for disorderly conduct, according to the Berrien County Sheriff's department.

(Warning: Contains profanity)

"We have not experienced an incident of this magnitude in the past 20 years for the July 4th fireworks display," the Berrien County Sheriff's Office said in a release.

The sheriff's department said that a large crowd gathered behind the concession stand near a life guard tower between 9 and 9:30 p.m.  They were throwing things, shoving each other and chanting "USA!" according to a release.

"After 40 years of visiting Silver Beach regularly, I will NOT ever come to Silver Beach to celebrate 4th of July again," Edwards wrote.

Edwards later added, "A crowd of about 500 teens/young adults gathered less than 100 yards from the playground and food area and they were openly drinking alcohol and smoking weed and partying.  NOTHING was done to break up the group as they got louder and more out of control."

The sheriff's department said the scene was cleared within 30 minutes.   One unspecified injury was reported, according to a release.

Berrien County Administrator Bill Wolf tells FOX 17 that the incident "blew up because of social media" and declined further comment.