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Police called to clear Unity Center parking lot

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The Unity Center at 108 East Bland St. Police were called to the center Saturday night to clear the parking lot after a dance was canceled because attendees did not adhere to the building’s occupancy rules. (Alex Ross Photo)

Police were called to the Unity Center Saturday night to help clear the parking lot after a dance was canceled when attendees refused to follow the building occupancy rules.

“Unity Center staff made the decision to follow the rules of occupancy and were forced to call the police to assist us in clearing the parking lot,” a post on the Unity Center Facebook page states.

Nathan Padilla, executive director of Embrace Inc., the nonprofit the Unity Center operates under, said in an interview Monday that no arrests were made.

The Toolit Productions Teen Dance was scheduled for 8 p.m. Saturday at the Unity Center at 108 East Bland St. However, the number of people who showed up exceeded the 120-person maximum occupancy allowed in the building as determined by the fire marshal, Padilla said.

People who stood in line were told multiple times the building had reached maximum occupancy. A DJ at the dance then incited the crowd and people tried to force their way into the event, according to Padilla.

Unity Center staff than ended the dance and asked all attendees to leave.

“When the building was cleared any attendees who did not have a ride when the police were clearing the parking lot were allowed to wait inside until their parents arrived,” according to the Facebook post.

“We are sorry that people could not follow the rules and act accordingly, but we will continue to operate as we have and remain The Unity Center,” the post continued.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at breakingnews@rdrnews.com.