Police break up College Fest after violence ensues
DetailsCreated on Saturday, 21 April 2012 23:14 Written by Jennifer Shore Hits: 40304
Visit KSU Buzz for College Fest pics before the riot police moved in.
From the archives: 2009
Read about the 2009 College Fest riots
Officers from the Kent City Police Department, Portage County Sheriff’s Office, Brimfield Police Department and Metro SWAT rushed to the scene after the crowd grew large and unruly, according to the Kent Police Department.
Officers from multiple jurisdictions made a total of 33 arrests. The Kent City Police Department arrested nine Kent State students over the age of 18 — names under age 18 are not released.
The university released a statement, saying it was “closely monitoring [Saturday’s] events and supports the city in its efforts to keep celebrations safe for everyone involved.”
Members of the Kent City Police Department maintained a presence on College Avenue during the day. By late afternoon, frequent fights, assaults and other violent behavior broke out, according to an email statement from Lt. Paul Canfield of the Kent City Police Department.
Much like three years ago, police in riot gear began at the east end of College Avenue and marched toward Franklin Hall as civilians threw beer bottles and other items in the direction of police around 6:45 p.m.
“There were numerous fights and assaults in the crowd that required police and medical response,” stated the release. “Eventually, the crowd began throwing bricks and bottles at officers and others in the crowd.”
Related story: Sights and sounds from College Ave.
Two officers warned bystanders not to continue down the street, but Abigail Myers, freshman pre-human development and family studies major, didn’t listen.
“We went down there, and the cops were throwing smoke bombs, at first; and then they kept warning us they’d [use] tear gas, which they did, and they tear-gassed, and that’s why everyone’s leaving — because it burns really bad,” she said.
What began as a day of beer bonging and ponging ended in fire and anger, and according to Michael Smith, junior marketing major, police influence was the problem.
“They showed up for no reason — we were just drinking out here,” Smith said. “Honestly, [the police] want to keep control in the street, and everything was in control until they started shooting stuff at us.”
From our photographer
Daily Kent Stater photographer Philip Botta used a GoPro camera to capture the scene on College Ave.
Members of the Kent Police Department may only use force in a lawful and justifiable manner. This means unnecessary use of force or the use of force in an excessive or unreasonable amount is prohibited.
The Kent Police Department recognizes its responsibility to establish guidelines that attempt to strike a reasonable balance between the values of protecting the lives of law enforcement officers and others, and deterring the abuse of authority.
It is the policy of the Kent Police Department to use the most effective means possible when deadly or non-deadly force is required.
“During this entire incident, police were outnumbered by a ratio of more than 30 to one,” Canfield said. “The officers present used accepted police practices in a deliberate and measured response to restore order in the safest manner possible for all involved and end the violent situation that was created willfully by members of the crowd.”
Police cleared College Avenue by 7:30 p.m. as reports of violence and destruction throughout the city continued into the night.