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Fort Wayne truck rally draws thousands; police defend that no arrests were made

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) - Fort Wayne police say they needed more than three hours to clear people from an unauthorized diesel truck rally at two adjoining northside shopping malls Saturday.

Police had to confirm with property owners that no permits had been granted for the event to take place.

Organized by YouTuber Whistlindiesel, pickup trucks drove around the Glenbrook Mall area Saturday.

Much of the rally was centered in the Glenbrook Commons mall

Social media video captured trucks doing "burnouts" and plumes of smoke could be seen in the area.

Employees working in the area called police saying they were stuck inside their workplace and afraid to leave.

Customers also called 911 saying they were scared to go to their vehicles.

The Fort Wayne Police Department said they believe a thousand trucks and several thousand people were in attendance.

Once police tracked down various property owners whose land was being taken over by the event, they learned no one gave permission for the rally.

That's when officers put together a plan to get everyone off of the property.

Police decided to use a geo-fenced texting feature that they hadn't used before.

Officers sent out the text that ordered people leave the area or face arrest.

A screenshot of the text alert sent out to order people to leave the Glenbrook Mall area.

Police said once the text was sent out, people slowly began to leave.

Trucks tried moving to other areas to continue the party, but those property owners called police, too.

A manager at a restaurant in Glenbrook Commons told us she didn't believe police came down on the crowd like they did at recent downtown demonstrations put on by people upset about the death of George Floyd in the custody of Minneapolis police.

"They were acting as if anybody would act at a rally…peaceful. But my problem is, why weren't the cops treating them the same way as they treated others at the Black Lives Matter protests. They were acting the same way," said Tanazia Collins.

"I don't think there was any damage done to any vehicles. I don't have any indications that there were reports after the fact, that there was anything broken there. Burn out marks, yes. We had no arrests from this. Everybody left in an orderly fashion and in as timely a manner as they could, given how many trucks and people were there," said Sgt. Sofia Rosales-Scatena with the Fort Wayne Police Department.

The FWPD said there were no reports of physical violence or injuries at the event.

Officials with Glenbrook Square said "the mall did not authorize the gathering that took place. We requested everyone showing up on Glenbrook Square property for such an event to leave immediately. Most of the participants have actually been on an adjacent property that isn't owned by the mall."

Kayla Crandall

Kayla Crandall is an Emmy award-winning journalist. She serves as the Social Media and Digital Content Manager at WPTA. Follow her on Twitter @KaylerJayne.

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