John M. Guilfoil, Boston Globe, May 31, 2011
Fights broke out among rival gang members on Carson Beach in South Boston yesterday and spilled out across the city, triggering a massive law enforcement response from at least five agencies to stem the violence.
Police said the gang members are part of a group of more than 1,000 youths who have used social media sites like Facebook to plan unruly gatherings on the beach on three of the past four nights. The beach falls under the jurisdiction of the State Police, who have been unable to prevent the violence.
The response yesterday resembled crowd-control tactics reserved for major sporting victories.
Yesterday, the beach, located steps away from the South Boston State Police barracks, attracted thousands of families and other Memorial Day revelers gathered for the unofficial start of summer. While the majority of the crowd was peaceful, the unruly youths again gathered at the beach and in nearby parking lots.
Three state troopers responded around 5:30 p.m. to the first report of a fight. When they arrived, they were confronted by about 1,000 people, Procopio said.
The troopers called for backup. State Police streamed in, State Police Special Tactical Operations teams and Boston SWAT teams arrived, and the Boston Police Department activated its Emergency Deployment Teams, which brought officers into South Boston from all over the city. State, Boston, Boston Housing, UMass, and Transit Police responded, for a total of more than 100 police officers.
As the crowd broke up, hundreds of the unruly youths boarded the Red Line at JFK/UMass Station. Some went north; some went south.
According to Transit Police, a group of young people ended up at Downtown Crossing and started a fight in the station that spilled onto the street. Clashes were also reported at other stops.
The groups have been larger and rowdier than even veteran South Boston troopers remember.
“Veteran troopers assigned to the State Police barracks for a couple of decades have never seen as large a volume of kids that were there tonight,” Procopio said.