BRAWL AT THE BEACH: Milford police knocked down, body cameras stolen while breaking up fights at Walnut Beach

Milford police had to call in reinforcements and shut down Walnut Beach after several fights broke out Monday evening, marring the end of the holiday weekend. They're now working to identify the people involved, including those who knocked officers down and stole their body cameras. Police released body camera footage Tuesday in hopes the public can help.
"Our officers tried to intervene but immediately were overrun by the unruly crowd," said Patrol Officer First Class Marilisa Anania, of the Milford Police Department.
Anania said police expected large crowds and had additional officers there, including the community policing van, but that ended up not being enough. She estimated more than 500 people were there when the fights began by the pier around 6:30 p.m.
"We were all on the beach and next thing you know I guess a scrum started breaking out, then some hands started getting thrown," recalled Craig Jones, of East Haven, who witnessed the violence. "All the people in the area were kind of just going at it. It was sad, sad scene."
"It was just like chaos," added Dante Perez, of New Haven. "We didn't know what to do."
Anania told News 12 more than 30 officers from Orange police, West Haven police, Stratford police, Connecticut State Police, and the University of New Haven were called in to help Milford.
"I don't even know who it was that was fighting. It was just like crazy experience," Perez recounted. He and Jones said they'd never seen anything like that Walnut Beach.
"Luckily none of our officers were injured. They were knocked around a bit, but nobody suffered any serious physical injury," said Anania. "The beach was cleared out in less than hour."
Anania said the focus that evening was safety and diffusing the situation. While no was arrested at the time, charges are expected as police investigate why this happened and who was behind it.
On Tuesday, a majority of the Milford Police Department was back at Walnut Beach as a precaution after learning three Connecticut schools and two New York schools were holding "senior skip day parties" there. Officers stopped letting any additional people onto the beach just before 1:30 p.m. The hope was the police presence and limiting capacity would prevent problems.
Jones and Perez were among the visitors turned away Tuesday after the cutoff.
"It's unfortunate, you know? We come to this beach all the time," Perez told News 12.
"Hopefully, it never happens again," added Jones. "Hopefully, the cops take care of things down there, get things in order."
Anania said police are doing everything they can to keep the area safe.
"We're increasing our presence. We're taking measures. We're issuing parking tickets, we're issuing infractions for marijuana and alcohol, but we also want to remind people that when they come, they have to do their part," Anania said.
Anyone with information on who was involved in the disturbance and stole the body cameras is asked to reach out to the Milford Police Department Crime Prevention Unit at 203-874-2366.