Law enforcement to increase Sternwheel presence

From staff reports

A joint force of the Marietta City Police, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office and the Ohio State Highway Patrol released a statement Friday morning regarding rumors of violence at this year’s Ohio River Sternwheel Festival.

“In July of this year, two national ‘outlaw’ motorcycle gangs, the Pagans and the Outlaws, came to the Marietta River Roar, where a confrontation ensued. At that time, local law enforcement intervened and monitored the situation, which ended without violence. Local law enforcement has recently received information that two or more gangs of these ‘outlaw’ bikers may be in attendance at the Sternwheel Festival, with the potential for violence between these groups as a stated possibility. Local law enforcement, as part of its responsibility to the public, is monitoring and preparing to address any act or actions connected to this potential that jeopardizes the safety or peace of the Marietta/Washington County community.

“At this time, absolutely no other specific potential threat has been identified or is under active consideration. That said, members of local law enforcement stand ready to address any emergency situation confronting us in our community.”

Emails distributed by local employers, including Marietta College, referring to the concern over the potential for violence were widely distributed on social media by Friday morning.

“Due to these reports there is going to be an increased presence of law enforcement at this year’s Sternwheel Festival for everyone’s safety,” read the letter to the college’s faculty, staff and students. It also reminded “There has been no indication of weapons of any kind being involved nor have we received any indication that there has been a threat of harm to anyone other than the gang members themselves.”

See the full story in the weekend edition of The Marietta Times.