Everyone loves a good rager, that is until that rager becomes fueled by ACTUAL RAGE and can only be dispersed by a cadre of police officers deploying less-lethal weapons. This past Saturday, the Fort Collins Police Department had just such a rager on their hands, thanks to a drunken mob of Colorado State students who were presumably all jacked up on S’more Flavored Schnapps, among other things (meth?).
By 9:00pm, the party, which according to students had been advertised on Facebook all week, was already large and disorderly enough to have police called to the Summerhill neighborhood where the party was taking place. According to officers, the party dispersion went smoothly at first. However, the police made a fatal mistake.
“We were going through telling people party’s over, time to go, and we got a lot of cooperation until … we shut the music off. That completely turned the crowd,” said Capt. Jerry Schiager of the Fort Collins police early Sunday morning. “They started chanting ‘f the police’ and basically pushed the cops back down the street.”
I like to imagine that the music was dramatically and abruptly shutoff with a loud record scratch, and that’s when the crowd immediately turned. Once a crowd of drunk college students are deprived of the music they aren’t even actually listening to, and “FUCK the po-leese” starts getting chanted, anything short of a Todd Storm intervention is going to spell disaster for the police. Of course we all know Todd Storm would have rolled in guns blazing, blades out, and fucks absent; alas, he was the hero Fort Collins needed, but not the one it deserved…or something.
What’s most impressive is that these kids actually pushed the police back down the street. This is a flamethrower wielding ecstasy dealer short of a being exactly like Project X.
While I generally have disdain for the officers who police college parties, especially university police, i.e. glorified rent-a-cops, it’s hard to argue that the actual Fort Collins officers who responded to this party didn’t act in the right. They tried to calmly disperse the party, but were forced out by the crowd simply for depriving the partygoers of what I’m sure were some SWEET remixes by whatever aspiring DJ the host paid $50 to blast out of his Macbook, through some kick ass speakers, and over the raucous crowd.
The party apparently terrified the neighbors as well:
Portia Cook, 23, said the party was “right outside our front door.” Cook lives in the neighborhood with her 4-month-old daughter, her mother and a 6-year-old sister.
She watched from her window as partiers broke car windows, chanted at the police and became increasingly violent toward authority. Some even tried to get into her home, she said.
“Hundreds of students were going towards cops, retaliating, throwing beer cans and bottles at them,” she said. “If my door had been unlocked, those people would have been in my house with our kids. … That’s not OK at all. It was really, really scary.”
Thank God she locked her doors, because there’s no way her toilet wasn’t getting upper-decked otherwise.
When the police finally regrouped, they came back donning riot gear and strapped with enough riot control ordinance to put down a Cinco de Derby party (we missed it by one day! ONE DAY!).
The crowd wasn’t going out without a fight, though.
Schiager said officers withdrew, donned riot gear and re-entered the neighborhood. Police first rolled exploding rubber balls at the crowd’s front row, and then fired pepper balls and set off pepper spray and tear gas. The officers eventually dispersed the crowd around 10:30 p.m. Officers reported having rocks and bottles thrown at them.
“It was a little scary, the aggressive nature of that core group,” Schiager said.
After police fired the tear gas and pepper spray, hundreds of partiers dispersed back into surrounding neighborhoods, many of them rubbing their eyes and complaining about what they saw as an overreaction of authorities.
“My eyes are burning,” CSU student Karley Schafer said as she walked away. “It really hurts.”
Yeah, you know what else really hurts? Getting hit in the face with a fucking broken bottle that some shithead 20-year-old chucked at your head because your attempts to keep the peace were cockblocking him. Again, I can’t say I blame the police for firing off tear gas, pepper spray, etc. Worst case scenario for the students is that their eyes burn. Worst case scenario for everyone else if the tear gas isn’t fired is that the students plunder the neighborhood like drunk vikings, and of course that poor mother’s toilet is upper-decked.
[via USA Today]