Getting overly upset that your house party was shut down. TGDIM.
I don’t know much about Western Washington University. Apparently it’s in western Washington, and apparently its students really don’t like it when their parties get shutdown by the cops. The WWU student population firmly affirmed the latter this past Saturday when police showed up to a house party to disperse the supposedly raucous gathering. What the local PD didn’t realize was that they were about to incite a real rager.
Police broke up a large party at Jersey Street and Chestnut Street, and the crowd of partiers poured onto Indian Street, gathering near Laurel Park. The crowd began throwing beer bottles at passing cars and a Whatcom Transportation Authority bus around 10:30 p.m. Saturday, police said.
Police then drove up and down Indian Street, telling the crowd to disperse over loud speakers, only to have glass bottles, beer cans and lawn chairs thrown at them in response. People ripped out multiple street signs and threw them into the street in front of police vehicles.
I’m actually impressed by that move. Creating a roadblock is pretty clever. It’s what the Somalis did during the Battle of Mogadishu. They made it real difficult for the Rangers to navigate the streets, if I remember my
history viewing of Black Hawk Down correctly. Regardless, blocking off the streets is a great way to declare to authorities, “We OWN these streets, bitches. And we can’t stop. And we won’t stop. Can’t you see it’s we who own the night? CAN YOU NOT SEE THAT IT IS WE WHO ARE ‘BOUT THAT LIFE!?!”
Several police vehicles were damaged, and no injuries had been reported, Bellingham Police Lt. Mike Johnston said. He estimated about 300 to 400 young people were involved.
As the crowd grew larger and refused to clear the area, police switched tactics and drove a “bearcat,” a large armored tactical vehicle, through the street. Over a loudspeaker, they warned the crowd multiple times that if they refused to disperse, they may be subject to arrest and chemical tactics would be used against them.
The crowd disregarded the warnings, and glass bottles and beer cans continued to rain down upon police vehicles. In an attempt to get the crowd moving, police used flash bombs, but the riot escalated further. Around 11 p.m., police began firing pepper balls and throwing smoke grenades into the crowd.
After law enforcement spent nearly an hour using chemical, physical and verbal force, the area was mostly cleared shortly after midnight on Sunday. Police continued to patrol Indian Street and the area around it, shooting pepper balls at straggling rioters and people walking around. Loud explosions from flash grenades and the sound of pepper balls being shot could be heard until about 12:15 a.m. Cleaning crews began clearing the street of debris around 2 a.m. Sunday.
Indiscriminately shooting pepper balls at random groups of people around 11pm sounds like something that would be done by either a) an overzealous police force (the crowd was already dispersed, c’mon) or b) the wait staff at TGI Fridays after someone rang the party bell. Pepper balls sound like an appetizer.
Also humorous, it seems the local PD’s armored car did little to disperse the crowd. But yeah, they’re totally useful in university settings. Police departments should keep buying them.
For all the rioting, only three arrests were actually made, and none of them were Western Washington students. Goddamn townies.
Here are some pictures from the riot:
Seems like a good time, until a cop hits you in the forehead with a pepper ball.
[via The Western Front]
Photos via Nick Gonzales, Jake Parrish, and Kyra Betteridge