A massive college party over the weekend near the University of Massachusetts Amherst campus ended with several injured police officers and jail time for some students.
The ‘Blarney Blowout,’ which is a pre-St. Patrick’s Day celebration held the Saturday before Spring Break, “gets worst every year”, according to one of Amherst’s police chiefs.
“This can’t be in any way, shape or form be characterized as a party,” Amherst Capt. Christopher Pronovost said. “This is destruction of property (and) assaultive behavior.”
The chaos started around 10 a.m. Saturday morning. But by 11 a.m., the crowd consisted of 4,000 drunk college students carrying out violent behavior.
There were reportedly numerous vehicles damaged, including those that belonged to police officers.
Twenty Amherst police officers along with state and campus law enforcement responded to the revelry.
At one scene in particular, officers were attacked with glass bottles and snow balls at the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity House. It eventually resulted in pepper spraying the uncontrollable crowd.
The local fire department reported that several partygoers were treated on scene for injuries to the head and limbs while a few were taken to the local hospital.
Four police officers were also treated for minor injuries that didn’t require hospitalization.
“The size and scope of these gatherings has led to many safety and quality of life issues, including violence and fights, injuries, severe alcohol intoxication, sexual assaults, excessive noise, property damage, and violence towards the police and community members,” the police department stated on its blog.
UMass Amherst issued a statement beforehand warning students of the disciplinary action that would be taken if the celebration spiraled out of control.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the letters were sent “…to students who had been disciplined for alcohol-related misconduct in the past year and to students who live in off-campus housing cited for noise or nuisance complaints reminding them of the possible consequences of bad behavior.”
Around 7:30 p.m., 43 people were arrested in connection to the mayhem. By Sunday, 73 were arrested on charges related to alcohol violations and assault.
Additional charges range from 18 counts of inciting a riot, three counts of possessing a dangerous weapon, and one count of breaking and entering.
Spokesman Ed Blaguszewski confirmed in a statement that the student dean would assess all arrests, and suspension or removal from the school would be enforced accordingly.
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