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Police scour social media for videos, pictures of rioters

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BELLINGHAM — The riots in the streets of Bellingham is now getting attention all over the world. The violence erupted over the weekend with hundreds of people tearing up street signs, throwing bottles and cinder blocks at police.

Detectives are scouring social media looking for anyone involved in the melee.

RAW: WWU riotsThree people have been arrested so far in the investigation; Korey McClay and Collin Lewis were arrested for suspicion of rioting and failure to disperse. Bail was set at $20,000 for each man. By Monday afternoon Lewis had posted bail and was out of the Whatcom County jail.

Sean Davidson was arrested for suspicion of being a minor in possession and for failing to disperse; his bail was set at $2,000 in municipal court.

So far none of the arrests have been of students at Western Washington University but detectives say that could change.

Cops say their best evidence has been from bystanders who have posted videos and photos online.

Bystander Elliot Bornemann was behind the wheel of a car when the crowd turned on him. Cellphone video captured the chaotic scene. “They just started jumping all over my car,” said Bornemann. “They just started destroying my car.”

Bornemann filed a police report on Monday; the Prius he was driving clearly showed footprints and dents peppering the roof. What’s worse, the car actually belongs to his parents.

“They’re in Europe and they’re pissed,” added Bornemann.

As things got more out of hand, cops from the Washington State Patrol, Western Washington University and Bellingham were targeted over and over by people throwing glass bottles, cans and even cinder blocks.

“Mob behavior and you see it escalate and there were individuals in that crowd that was pushing that escalation,” said Bellingham Police Chief Clifford Cook.

Cellphone video shows one young woman ignoring orders from SWAT officers; it even shows her take a swing at one point, prompting police to respond with pepper spray balls. Just minutes later, the same woman hurls something at the cops.

“It’s an incident that this community does not want to be known as,” said Cook. “Bellingham has things going on in this community and it’s a great place to live, but, unfortunately, has given us a bit of a black eye.”

None of the people arrested so far is a Western Washington University student, but that could change as detectives continue looking through more images and cellphone video.

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