Video: Angry mob beats man

updated 6/21/2007 12:24:05 PM ET 2007-06-21T16:24:05

Police in riot gear dispersed the crowd at the city’s Juneteenth Day celebration after a man was pulled from a car and beaten and an officer was injured trying to break up a fight.

“During the day the crowd was very well behaved and everything was fine throughout the afternoon. Unfortunately at closing time everything came unhinged and there were some problems,” Police Department spokeswoman Anne E. Schwartz said of the incidents Tuesday evening.

Meanwhile, police in Austin, Texas, were pleading for witnesses to help them track down members of an angry mob that beat a man to death after the car he was riding in apparently struck and injured a child at that city's Juneteenth celebration.

Investigators were struggling to piece together what happened Tuesday when David Rivas Morales died defending the driver from members of a crowd. There could have been anywhere from two to 20 attackers, Austin Police Commander Harold Piatt said.

In Milwaukee, a large group leaving the city's festival commemorating the end of slavery attacked at least two cars, and one of the drivers was pulled from his vehicle and beaten, according to police.

The man suffered facial cuts and a broken tooth, police said.

Schwartz said a big fight erupted in the area about the same time between groups of girls and then grew larger as more people got involved.

Police in riot gear attempted to disperse the crowd, Schwartz said.

About a block away, a police sergeant trying to break up a fight between groups of girls was injured when a 17-year-old girl punched his riot helmet hard enough to shatter the shield.

The officer had cuts to his face that required three stitches and had scratches to his neck, authorities said.

The girl was in police custody, facing possible charges of battery to an officer, authorities said.

The organizer of the Juneteenth celebration said the violence was unrelated to the day’s activities.

“You just had a group of individuals that decided that they wanted to do something entirely different. It’s just sad that you have a few fools that got out of hand,” said McArthur Weddle, Juneteenth Day president. He has no plans to change the event next year.

Juneteenth Day events are held in communities around the country to commemorate the day in 1865 when Union soldiers landed at Galveston, Texas, to announce the Civil War was over and that slaves were free.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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