East Side calls for unity after viral video involving LPD

East Side calls for unity after viral video involving LPD

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

Organizers of the East Side Water Wars: The Purge were not expecting it to go viral. Numerous videos are scrawled over social media of participants spraying and throwing water at officers. 

The organizers called it a kick-off to a new group promoting unity within the historic neighborhood. The viral video brought backlash towards the entire community. 

Roctrus Sanders was born and raised in east Lubbock, on the street where the water fight took place. He believes the videos do not define the true character of this neighborhood. 

"There's always going to be a lot of bad apples, somewhere," Sanders said. 

He said there has been a division between neighbors and this event was the first step to mending relationships. 

"It's important for us to get back together, and kind of building back together," Sanders said.

Now, more than 300 people are a part of a group on Facebook called East Side Unity. At least once a month, it will host a family-friendly event. Sanders said it is not only for the east side, but an opportunity for the entire community.  

"Don't be so quick to scrutinize and say things are not right, things are never going to be right, things are like this or like that," Sanders said. "Come out, speak with us, we're intelligent people. Somewhere there's an intelligent person who would love to talk with you about the east side." 

Friday, June 15 at 8:30 p.m. East Side Unity will host a walk to promote positivity, health and safety.

"We're going to have some structure in it, so where they can't scrutinize," Sanders said. "They can't say negative things, everything surrounds the east side needs to be positive from now on."

This includes the relationship with law enforcement. Sanders said he hopes officers will want to get more involved and get to know residents. 

"So with the police officers, and us as a community, let's bond, let's get together," Sanders said. "We're missing huge opportunities, and we need to get it to where we can make it happen, to where it's a little bit different, a little bit better for all of us." 

Police Chief Greg Stevens, in a statement said, "Their Actions of course do not represent how any larger community engages with LPD officers during such encounter."

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