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[PHOTOS and VIDEO] CSU students and neighbors react to Saturday riot near campus

john erickson

UPDATE 6:11 p.m.

A party hosted by two alleged CSU students 100 feet south of campus got out of hand Saturday night, and grew into a 200-person riot before 25 police units, SWAT teams and a K-9 unit broke it up around midnight.

The riot occurred on the 500 block of Blevins Court and spilled over into an intersection with Whitcomb Street, the crowd of college kids threw beer bottles, yelled profanities at the police and climbed on top of random students’ cars that happened to pass by, according to a police spokesman.

The hosts of the party called police after realizing their event had grown to be dangerously large. The students, who identified themselves as Peter and Trevor, had also registered the party through the City of Fort Collins.

“It was one of those things where there were so many people out back, you couldn’t … people weren’t getting kicked out. We’re talking like 300 people. They were coming in droves of like, 20-30 plus,” Trevor said.

The block party started at approximately 7 p.m., he said. Around midnight, neighbors began to hear a crowd of at least 200 people on the street shouting “f**k the police,” and “f**k CU.”

“It all started out as just a little party in our yard,” said Mariel Bialy, a sophomore equine science major who shares the duplex where the party was held.

“The riot started 10 or 15 minutes after the cops got them out of our yard,” she said.

After an initial response of two police units, an additional 23 police units, including SWAT teams, arrived on the scene to break up the a riot, according to Fort Collins Police Services‘ Lt. Jeremy Yonce.

He added that no tear gas was used in the confrontation.

Taylor Myers, a senior art major at CSU, was in her home on Whitcomb when she heard the disturbance.

“We saw tons of police lights and probably two or three hundred people in that cul-de-sac, jumping on cars, yelling, screaming, chanting,” she said.

Rachel LaFonte, a junior criminal justice major and nearby resident, came out of her home to find a partygoer standing on her car.

“The entire street and cul-de-sac were filled with people,” she said. “Next moment we see a SWAT team coming by and people are still chanting, saying, ‘Stand your ground!’”

Police began to move the crowd north toward the CSU campus at the intersection of Whitcomb and Lake Street, where some rioters continued to jump on the cars of random passersby.

Bialy said that it looked to her as though they were treating it as some kind of game.

“Some people actually were on top of the cars when they started moving and they would jump off and yell like it was a sport,” she said.

Steven Meyers, a senior art major and Whitcomb resident, was knocked down by a riot officer while trying to protect his car from the rioters.

“I didn’t want to make any sudden movements, so I stood by my car,” Meyers said. “Before I knew it a riot police officer was right next to me and he told me I couldn’t protect my car and he slammed me with his riot shield and I fell in between my car and my girlfriend’s car.”

After being pushed to the ground, Meyers was told by the officer to “get the f**k up, b**ch.”

Fort Collins Police Department could not be reached for comment at time of print in relation to Meyers’ experience.

From the intersection, Yonce said the mob dispersed in three directions: east toward College Avenue, west toward Shields Street and north in the direction of Braiden, Academic Village and Newsom residence halls.

Officers didn’t prevent partygoers from flocking to campus due to the possibility that many lived there. A police blockade was staged on the southeast corner of the Intramural Fields, while other squad cars patrolled the rest of campus to prevent roving crowds from interfering with CSU’s Relay for Life. The cancer awareness and fundraising event reportedly continued through the night.

Police did not move the mob south toward Prospect Road because it would have been pushed into traffic, Yonce said.

No injuries were sustained as a result of the confrontation, Yonce said, but students interviewed said others were visibly harmed that evening.

A nursing supervisor at Poudre Valley Hospital said he had not seen any traffic of injured partygoers in the emergency room, as of Sunday at 3 a.m.

In an email sent Sunday afternoon, Dean of Students Jody Donovan addressed Saturday night’s riot.

“Let us stand together to let the community know the actions of those party-goers at Blevins Court on Saturday is an embarrassment to all of us, and such behavior is not tolerated at Colorado State University,” Donovan wrote.

CSU’s Student Conduct Code states students can be punished for aiding, abetting, encouraging, participating in or inciting a riot. It also states that failing to disperse at the direct request of police or University officials can be punishable under University policy.

“Students found to have violated the Student Code of Conduct can face university consequences, even if they don’t face criminal charges,” Donovan wrote.

In an email to the Collegian, Mike Hooker, Executive Director of Public Relations for CSU, echoed Donovan’s statements.

“If any of our students are found to be involved, they will face consequences through the university conduct system, as well as possible legal ramifications. CSU police will work closely with Fort Collins police to identify any students who may have been involved in rioting behavior,” Hooker wrote.

He added that CSU stands with the officers and that there are serious consequences for students who are convicted of riot offenses.

“The university completely supports police efforts to hold rioters and bystanders responsible for their actions. Under Colorado law, students who are convicted of a riot offense shall be immediately suspended from the university for twelve months and also are prohibited from registering at any state-supported college or university for a full year,” Hooker wrote. “Consequences are determined on a spectrum based on behavior, and can include separation from the university.”

No arrests were immediately made, said Yonce. But, an impending investigation of the riot may lead to criminal charges, much in the same way that an 800-person local riot in April 2013 led to multiple charges in the weeks that followed.

Collegian Reporter McKenna Ferguson can be reached at news@collegian.com.

UPDATE: 3:15 p.m. CSU Dean of Students responds to block party turned riot in email to students

In an email sent at 2:49 p.m., Dean of Students Jody Donovan addressed Saturday night’s riot.

“Let us stand together to let the community know the actions of those party-goers at Blevins Court on Saturday is an embarrassment to all of us, and such behavior is not tolerated at Colorado State University,” Donovan wrote.

According to Donovan, the University is taking this incident very seriously and will cooperate fully with the ongoing police investigation.

The Student Conduct Code states students can be punished for aiding, abetting, encouraging, participating in or inciting a riot. It also states that failing to disperse at the direct request of police or University officials can be punishable under University policy.

“Students found to have violated the Student Code of Conduct can face university consequences, even if they don’t face criminal charges,” Donovan wrote. “Under Colorado law, students who are convicted of a riot offense shall be suspended from the university for 12 months and also are prohibited from registering at any Colorado state-supported college or university for a full year.”

 UPDATE 9:28 a.m.: CSU block party grows to 200-person riot, 25 police and SWAT units swarm area

A block party hosted by two people who identified themselves as CSU students 100 feet south of campus got out of hand Saturday night, growing into a 200-person riot before 25 police units and SWAT teams broke up the crowd of college kids throwing beer bottles, yelling profanities at the police and climbing on top of random students’ cars that happened to be passing by, according to a police spokesman.

No arrests were immediately made, said Fort Collins Police Services Lt. Jeremy Yonce. But an impending investigation of the riot may lead to criminal charges, much in the same way that an 800-person local riot in April 2013 led to multiple charges in the weeks that followed.

Unlike last year, the hosts of Saturday night’s block party called police after realizing their event had grown to be dangerously large, starting on the 500 block of Blevins Court and spilling over into an intersection with Whitcomb Street. The students, who identified themselves as Peter and Trevor, had also registered the party through the City of Fort Collins.

The hosts knew the situation needed police attention, they said.

“It was one of those things where there were so many people out back, you couldn’t… people weren’t getting kicked out. We’re talking like 300 people. They were coming in droves of like 20-30 plus,” Trevor said.

The block party started at approximately 7 p.m., he said. Around midnight, neighbors began to hear a crowd of at least 200 people on the street shouting “f**k the police,” and “f**k CU.”

Initially, two police units responded to the block party hosts’ call for help. Fort Collins resident and neighbor Christina Dickinson said partygoers were reluctant to leave at first, but after two more units arrived on scene, people began to take the order to vacate more seriously.

Minutes later, an additional 23 police units, including SWAT teams, arrived on the scene to break up what had turned into a riot, according Yonce, adding that no tear gas was used in the confrontation.

‘Stand your ground!’

Taylor Myers, a senior art major at CSU, was in her home on Whitcomb when she heard the disturbance.

“We saw tons of police lights and probably two or three hundred people in that cul-de-sac, jumping on cars, yelling, screaming, chanting,” she said.

Rachel LaFonte, a junior criminal justice major and nearby resident, came out of her home to find that a partygoer was standing on her car.

“The entire street and cul-de-sac were filled with people,” she said. “Next moment we see a SWAT team coming by and people are still chanting, saying ‘Stand your ground!’”

Police began to move the crowd north toward the CSU campus at the intersection of Whitcomb and Lake Street, where some rioters continued to jump on the cars of random passersby. From there, Yonce said the mob dispersed in three directions: east toward College Avenue, west toward Shields Street and north in the direction of Braiden, Academic Village and Newsom residence halls.

Officers didn’t prevent partygoers from flocking to campus due to the possibility that many lived there. But a police blockade was staged on the southeast corner of the Intramural Fields while other squad cars patrolled the rest of campus to prevent roving crowds from interfering with CSU’s Relay for Life. The cancer awareness and fundraising event reportedly continued through the night.

Police did not move the mob south toward Prospect Road because it would have been pushed into traffic, Yonce said.

‘No sudden movements’

“They were jumping on cars, throwing bottles and yelling that the people in the cars were b**ches,” said Chandon Hammersmith, a junior art education major and resident on Whitcomb. “Anytime a car would try to come through, they would storm the car like zombies.”

Steven Meyers, a senior art major, was knocked down by a riot officer while trying to protect his car from the rioters.

“I didn’t want to make any sudden movements, so I stood by my car,” Meyers said, “and before I knew it a riot police officer was right next to me and he told me I couldn’t protect my car and he slammed me with his riot shield and I fell in between my car and my girlfriend’s car.”

Meghan Center, Meyers’ girlfriend and senior human development and family studies major, said she was also knocked over by the officers and then told to “move, b**ch.”

Most of the rioters left by around 12:45 a.m. and police began to disperse pockets of resistance around 1:30 a.m. No injuries were sustained as a result of the confrontation, Yonce said. But students interviewed said others were visibly harmed that evening.

A nursing supervisor at Poudre Valley Hospital said he had not “seen that kind of traffic” of injured partygoers in the emergency room as of Sunday at 3 a.m.

This story is developing. Stay with the Collegian for more updates. The staff can be reached at news@collegian.com or 970-491-7513. The Collegian remains fully committed to protecting the identity of sources with sensitive or confidential information.

UPDATE: 2:42 a.m.CSU block party turned riot broken up by SWAT

A block party hosted by two CSU students 100 feet away from campus got out of hand Saturday night when it grew to 200 people and ended with a riot and a visit from 25 police units and SWAT teams.

The party started at approximately 7 p.m. Around midnight, residents of the 500 block of Blevins Court and neighboring Whitcomb Street began to hear a crowd of about 200 people on the street shouting “f**k the police,” and “f**k CU.”

Taylor Myers, a senior art major at CSU, was in her home on Whitcomb when she heard the disturbance.

“We saw tons of police lights and probably two or three hundred people in that cul-de-sac, jumping on cars, yelling, screaming, chanting,” she said.

Rachel LaFonte, a junior criminal justice major and nearby resident, came out of her home to find that a partygoer was standing on her car.

“The entire street and cul-de-sac were filled with people,” she said. “Next moment we see a SWAT team coming by and people are still chanting, saying ‘stand your ground!’”

The police began to move the crowd north toward the CSU campus at the intersection of Whitcomb and Lake Street, where the rioters began to jump on the cars of random passersby. From there, FCPS Lt. Jeremy Yonce said the mob dispersed in three directions: east, west and north in the direction of Braiden, Academic Village and Newsom university residence halls. Police didn’t prevent partygoers from roving onto campus due to the possibility that many lived there.

Police did not move the mob south toward Prospect Road because they would have been pushed into traffic, Yonce said.

“They were jumping on cars, throwing bottles and yelling that the people in the cars were b**ches,” said Chandon Hammersmith, a junior art education major and resident on Whitcomb. “Anytime a car would try to come through, they would storm the car like zombies.”

Steven Meyers, a senior art major, was knocked down by a riot officer while trying to protect his car from the rioters.

“I didn’t want to make any sudden movements, so I stood by my car,” Meyers said, “and before I knew it a riot police officer was right next to me and he told me I couldn’t protect my car and he slammed me with his riot shield and I fell in between my car and my girlfriend’s car.”

After he was shoved to the ground, Meyers was told to “get the f**k up, b**ch.”

Most of the rioters left by around 12:45 a.m. and police began to disperse pockets of resistance around 1:30 a.m.

UPDATE: 2:18 a.m. CSU block party grows to 200, 25 units dispatched after party host calls police

According to the sergeant on duty, Lt. Jeremy Yonce, police received one call around midnight from one of the party hosts, a CSU student who identified himself as Peter Hildreth. Hildreth registered his party with CSU.
Two officers arrived on the scene and witnessed rocks being thrown and glass broken. Fort Collins Police Services dispatched 20 units and CSUPD dispatched  five units.
After police arrived, the 200 people spilled into the intersection of Blevins and Meridian. Police directed the crowd north towards the CSU campus to keep them away from Prospect Road.
No arrests were made, but Fort Collins Police Services will be investigating the incident further and charges may result.

UPDATE: 2:02 am,: CSU block party busted, Fort Collins Police called to deal with aftermath

At approximately 7 p.m. two CSU students were hosting a party for friends and family on the 500 block of Blevins Ct.

A few hours later, police broke up a nearby party and partygoers flocked to the CSU students’ address.

According to the original party hosts, Peter Hildreth and Trevor, approximately 200 people were in the area when the situation reached an uncontrollable volume.
Once they realized the situation was starting to become out of control, the students called Fort Collins Police Services.
Police arrived at approximately 11:30 p.m. Two vehicles originally appeared on the scene and ordered partygoers to vacate.
According to an eyewitness source, partygoers were initially hesitant to comply.
According to the party hosts, when two more squad cars appeared it prompted the rest of the party to quickly dissipate.
According to the party hosts, the large group started to depart in waves towards the intersection of Blevins and Meridian, right next to the CSU visual arts building.
At that time, an eyewitness source claims approximately 40 people began to shout obscenities at the police, including “f*** the police,” prompting FCPS to dispatch riot control officers.
By approximately 12:30 a.m., police had expanded across the CSU campus and into nearby intersections, apparently to track the movements of the 200 partygoers who had just vacated the area.

Original story, approximately 1:00 am:
CSUPD blockading sections of campus after CSU  block party

At least 15 CSUPD officers spotted blockading sections of campus.

Officers would not give a description of the danger, only telling a reporter when asked that activity was happening on the north east side of campus and that no further details are available at this time. The Collegian ia sending a reporter into the field. Stay with the Collegian for updates.
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