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Riot police called in when WWU party gets out of hand

More than 500 people were involved in riots near Western Washington University following a party.

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This story has 7 updates

BELLINGHAM — Police on Thursday arrested an additional person related to the Saturday’s street riot that followed a raucous party.

The 19-year-old man, who lives on campus at 2401 Bill McDonald Parkway, was booked into the Whatcom County Jail for investigation of riot, failure to disperse, and interfering with a street sign. He has not yet been formally charged.

bellinghamPolice said two additional people have also been identified but have not been located.  Police said they will continue to work to identify participants.

There are 11 photos of individuals allegedly involved in the riot, at the following link;

https://www.piersystem.com/external/content/document/1264/1934805/1/photos.pdf

that police request the public’s help identifying.  Please call Bellingham police detective Gina Crosswhite if you have information about the riot at (360) 778-8835.

Meanwhile, over the next few weeks, authorities from the Bellingham Police Department, Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office and Western Washington University will be cracking down on disruptive parties.

Police will use the “Party Bus” and the sheriff’s office will provide their mobile booking vehicle starting Friday night.

Early Saturday morning Bellingham police had to control a riot near Western Washington University. Hundreds of revelers took to the streets, damaging signs and property.

“It escalated, got completely out of control. It’s embarrassing and it’s disgraceful,” said WWU student Shelby Stimson.

“I have never ever seen such a violent crowd, directing bottles, rocks, cinder blocks at police officers,” said Bellingham police Lt. Rick Sucee said.

Police also depleted most of their pepper spray, flash bangs and tear gas and now have to pay up to $5,000 to repair damaged patrol cars.

“It’s really disheartening, being a lifelong resident here,” said Sucee.

Authorities say they are not banning parties but they will respond to complaints.

Several tips if you are planning a party:

  • Keep your party a reasonable size. Social media can lead to many more people showing up than you want.
  • Touch bases with your neighbors; let them know you are planning a party and listen to their concerns, such as noise, parking and litter.
  • Keep the party indoors. When the party moves outdoors, things can get loud.
  • If you generate noise that unreasonably disturbs or interferes with the peace, comfort, and repose of your neighbors, the police can issue a public disturbance noise citation.
  • Even if you didn’t intentionally invite anyone underage, you might end up with underage people at your party. If the Party Patrol busts your party and find that alcohol is being served or consumed, then those under 21 will be cited for a minor in possession (commonly known as an MIP). You as the host also could receive a citation for furnishing alcohol to minors. In addition, hosts may have liabilities for neighborhood damages caused by their party guests.
  • If you believe your party is getting too loud or large, call the police department to assist you in clearing it out.
 
 
Local News
10/16/13

Landlord plans to evict block-party planners

BELLINGHAM — The party had everything at the start.  Booze. A DJ. Way too many attendees.

But in the end, the planners of a Bellingham block party that erupted into a riot Saturday night might not have a place to live anymore.

Bellingham RiotAccording to the Bellingham Herald, the residents at 1211 Jersey Street who planned the big party will be evicted from their home. The landlord also sent “incriminating” photos to their tenants’ parents, the Herald reported, since the parents were all co-signers on the lease.

Many of the tenants were cooperative in helping clear party-goers from the area Saturday night, the Herald previously reported, but it was too late. Hundreds of revelers packed the streets after the party was canceled, eventually erupting into a riot.

Many residents of the Jersey Street apartments are college students. The owner of the property said they will be evicted, and have to pay rent until a new tenant can be found. They will also be fined $500.

The residents blame the riot on underage drinkers who flooded the party and didn’t want the night to end, the Herald reported. One resident said even high schoolers attended the party.

Most of the residents went back to their rooms once the riot broke out, the paper reported.

WHATCOM COUNTY– The Bellingham Police Department depleted its entire stock of smoke, pepper spray, pepper balls and drag stabilizers in Saturday morning’s effort to disperse a riot near Western Washington University, the Bellingham Herald reported.

But anarchists be warned: Don’t get out that riot gear just yet in hopes of taking advantage of the depleted stock. According to the Herald, the police department has ordered enough to replenish its shelves.

Bellingham Riot“We’ve depleted our crowd control munitions, so we’ve ordered more,” Bellingham Police Chief Cliff Cook told the Herald.

Cook said the department was lucky to have extra officers on hand at the time of the riot to scour the area for underage parties. Also, officers from the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office, the Western Washington University Police Department and Washington State Patrol were on hand to help disperse revelers.

Police believe damage to cruisers and other office gear would tally into the thousands. An estimated cost for street sign and other property repairs were not yet available.

Western Washington University officials are working to determine which, if any, students acted in the riot. They will likely face suspension or expulsion if they are caught, police said.

Officials said many students have expressed their sorrow that such events occurred on a normally quiet campus.

“Our students are very embarrassed about this situation,” Steve Swan of WWU said.

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.

SEATTLE — Riots broke out Saturday around 9:30 p.m. when a block party that included about 200 revelers quickly grew to close to 500. Police responded and pepper spray was used to disperse the crowd. Three arrests were made, but no serious injuries were reported.

WWU RIOT

BELLINGHAM — Police say a block party with about 200 people started to get out of hand around 9:30 p.m. Saturday near the corner of Jersey and Chestnut Streets in Bellingham.

The crowd, which quickly grew to about 500 people, had to be dispersed with pepper spray and three people were arrested but no serious injuries were reported. None of those arrested were Western Washington University students.

When police initially asked the crowd to disperse, people refused and instead retreated to nearby Laurel Park, where their numbers grew. “Next thing I know 300, 400 people are outside going crazy,” Ed Bear said.

It took police a couple of hours to break up the crowd.

As the crowd grew, things spun out of control and party goers began throwing bottles into the streets. Within minutes cell phone video started turning up on YouTube that showed how bad things were and how dangerous it became for police and the public.

“This one car for some reason, people got on top of it and were jumping up and down, like five people on top of this Prius and I could see them making dents in the roof of the car,” Kendall Baumgartner said. “People were throwing bottles at the cops and throwing glass at them, throwing glass at their windshield.”

Police cars lined the street for blocks and waited for the SWAT team to arrive in riot gear as the crowd continued to gather. Ian Vincent said police calmly told party goers to leave, but were forced to use pepper spray and rubber bullets to disperse the crowd.

“People still refused to leave and that’s when things started to get out of hand,” Vincent said.

Police and school officials plan to look at video of the riot and if more revelers are identified, there could be more arrests made or disciplinary action taken on campus.

Bellingham Riot

Courtesy Justin Baker

BELLINGHAM – The scene got ugly Saturday night in Bellingham when police were called to disperse hundreds of people at a street party near the campus of Western Washington University (WWU).

Police used pepper spray on hundreds of what police described as “drunk, bottle-throwing college students,” the Bellingham Herald reported.

Lt. Mike Johnson told the paper that police were called to a block party at an apartment complex near Jersey Street around 9:30 p.m.  Police encountered people who reportedly threw beer bottles and cans at the officers. The crowd grew as more college students arrived from other parties in the area, Sam Kaplan, a WWU student told the paper.

Officers in riot gear used “pepper balls,” smoke and flash-bangs to disperse the crowd of approximately 300 to 400, who refused to leave the street, Johnson said. Police made at least three arrests, and it’s not known how much damage was done or if anyone was seriously injured, the paper reported.

A statement from Western Washington University President Bruce Shepard and Western Associated Student Body President Carly Roberts read: “Last night, in the vicinity of our campus, several hundred people refused to obey a lawful order to disperse. The extent to which university students may have been involved has yet to be determined.  Of the three arrests made, none were Western students.

“Nevertheless, this ‘riot’ in the community we are proud to call home has stunned us all, for it is so out of character.  We are a university consistently recognized as the best of our type in the Pacific Northwest. Importantly in the current context, we are also a university recognized nationally, year after year, as foremost in the state of Washington for the engagement of our students in service to the community.”

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