GALVESTON — Led by community activist Quanell X, a group of young people arrested during Galveston’s Mardi Gras celebration protested outside the city’s municipal court Wednesday, accusing police of using excessive force to clear the streets of revelers.

Galveston police used canisters of pepper spray to disperse a crowd gathered on The Strand at the end of the night’s Mardi Gras festivities early Sunday and arrested 19 people.

Police Chief Henry Porretto said officers used the canisters after a group of people attempted to block the street with metal barriers and began throwing bottles and rocks at police. He said officers responded appropriately to the situation.

Quanell X said many of those arrested Sunday were beaten and kicked by officers.

“I believe absolutely the Galveston Police Department used excessive force,” he said. “These children are not thugs, and they are not gang members. Police created a riot-like atmosphere.”

One man, who police said was a known gang member, was arrested and charged with participating in a riot and resisting arrest. Others were charged with public intoxication and interference with the duties of a public servant.

Many of the 19 people arrested at the tail end of the Mardi Gras celebration are due back in municipal court on March 20, when Quanell X said he plans to hold another protest.

Contact reporter Alex Macon at 409-683-5241 or

(5) comments

Allen Flores

End the source of the problem, instead of encouraging drinking and night disturbances every year. Mardi Gras doesn't need night concerts and beer booths on the streets, no other city does it that way. More is not better. End the beer booths, late nights troubles and bad unnecessary promoter contracts. The police are not at fault, but they should put their foot down to city council and the city manager. The police are placed in a dangerous place every year because of the lopsided promoter contract that forces high city expenses. The chief should disallow beer booths on The Strand and end the outdoor bands and parades after 9pm. The problems will be solved and the city will save hundreds of thousands in tax money.

Super Dave

Whoa, whoa, can't end all that money growth for the economy of brings bucks to the Island. It always does and has. You take the alkee-hall out of the fun, then you bring less green to the city. Officials know this and sometimes they don't really want to "rid of the source", but just control it. Hey, it was yesterday's news. Yes, there will be hiccups along the way, but all in all, the green stayed in G-town. I would like to know, though, the "Hundreds of Thousands in tax money" Is it really $100,000s in tax money, cuz if it is...are we thinking $800,000 was spent during Mardi Gras after 9:00 p.m.? Just my views, but I will say this...I had to work the whole time and was not able to venture to Mardi Gras this year, but it sure looked fun.

Meg Cagnola

Let's see, throwing beer bottles at the police, that's the right thing to do. The police should just take the abuse and get over it. NOT!!! When they (the Police) say it's time to go, IT"S TIME TO GO. Don't argue, don't cry, and don't throw things at them, just leave. And do it in an orderly fashion.

Lawrence Kagan

HOORAY for GPD!!! I agree with the other posters!! Those thugs don't belong here!

Kevin Lang

I guess throwing rocks and bottles is appropriate behavior? I wonder what part of "closing time" those imbeciles were too drunk and belligerent to understand.

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