by Mary Wilson
What began as a family-friendly event last weekend quickly turned into a potentially dangerous situation, as a large fight erupted during the Truman Heritage Festival on Saturday, May 6. According to Grandview Police, a large fight involving both juveniles and adults broke out at the carnival being held in conjunction with the festival on Byars Road in Grandview, and multiple arrests were made.
“An adult female involved in the fight sprayed pepper spray indiscriminately into the crowd including on police officers trying to break it up,” said Grandview Police Captain Richard Rodgers.
A single gunshot was fired by an unknown suspect in the same area, though no one was reported to be injured. Due to the large number of individuals involved in the fight, a mutual aid request was made to neighboring law enforcement agencies to assist in clearing the crowd. Officers from the Kansas City Police Department, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department, the Belton Police Department, the Lee’s Summit Police Department and the Missouri State Highway Patrol responded to assist.
Chira S. Smith, 33, from Grandview, was arrested for fighting in public; Ashley M. Plunkett, 30, from Paola, KS, was arrested for assault on a police officer and failure to obey; Bryson M. Sylvain, 29, from Belton, was arrested for failure to obey; and Brittany N. Rymes, 17, from Grandview, was arrested for fighting in public. A 15-year-old juvenile male and a 16-year-old juvenile female, both from Grandview, were also taken into custody. The male was arrested for assault on a police officer and the female for fighting in public.
No injuries resulting from the disturbance were reported with the exception of those exposed to pepper spray. The City of Grandview and organizers for the Truman Heritage Festival on Sunday released a statement saying that the incidents that occurred are not indicative of the community.
“(We) are angry and disappointed by what happened last night as the Truman Heritage Festival neared its end,” the statement said. “We are thankful Grandview PD acted quickly to ensure everyone's safety by calling for mutual aid from area law enforcement agencies. Because of their quick thinking, no one was hurt.”
With the safety of everyone in the community remaining a priority, the statement added that organizers will be reviewing festival security procedures and plans, as well as security for future events.
Visitors and vendors of the festival took to social media following the incidents, expressing concern and outrage, including those there with small children.
“My kids were excited to be there,” said carnival attendee Scott Boyer. “We were only there for about ten minutes when multiple fights broke out. There was so much mace in the air, we were coughing. It was ridiculous and this will be the last time we go to the festival. It was embarrassing for the City of Grandview.”
The adults arrested were charged through Grandview Municipal Court and the juveniles will be referred to the Jackson County Family Court.