FBI drops College Fest riot investigation

Kristyn Soltis

The FBI is no longer looking into complaints filed to the Akron Resident Agency claiming police used excessive force during the April 25 College Fest riots.

When street fires were lit during the annual block party, Kent Police, Metro SWAT and 10 other stations shot pepper balls, stinger grenades and baton rounds to get students and their guests to disperse.

In May, the FBI began reviewing YouTube videos of the riot where officials checked for excessive force and civil rights violations.

According to the FBI codes, civil rights are broken if excessive force is used or if false or unlawful arrests are made.

About 50 students and guests were arrested during the College Fest riots for underage drinking and failure to disperse.

Scott Wilson, a media representative from the Cleveland Bureau, said the FBI stopped looking into any complaints or what happened as a whole that evening because no substantial evidence has been found.

“We consider every person who felt that something happened to them that was beyond what they feel was proper police behavior and look at them individually,” Wilson said.

In order for any investigations or inquiries to be opened, individuals must show a violation of rights under the color of law statute.

“Basically, it’s where a police officer goes beyond his scope and uses excessive force which is in violation of their civil rights,” Wilson said.

Wilson said the FBI only received a few calls and did not open any cases or investigate any individual complaints regarding police brutality because the calls were general and not personal.

Local officials determined damage costs from the April 25 College Fest events to total $26,259.

City of Kent Safety Director William Lillich said the cost accumulated mostly from increased staffing following the event and police and firefighter overtime in addition to street repairs.

Lillich said the expense will come from the city’s general operating budget; however, it will not cover the cost of mutual aid from the 11 police and 12 fire agencies from other communities that also responded.

The city can regain a portion of the money through fines paid by those who were arrested and charged with misdemeanors. Those charged with felonies are handled through the state.

“The only fines I had to pay were to get out of jail, which was about $300,” said Bill Hilbert, a business management major who was arrested during College Fest. “I am not sure what the court fee will be yet.”

Anyone with further complaints concerning this year’s

College Fest can contact the Akron Resident Agency at 330-535-6156.

Contact principal reporter Kristyn Soltis at [email protected].