Amherst events bring in thousands of people, but problems for police and fire kept to a minimum
AMHERST — Thousands of people descended on downtown Amherst Saturday for the annual marijuana rally, Extravaganja, causing congested streets and sidewalks, but police encountered few problems during the afternoon event.
While 12 civil citations for possession of less than an ounce of marijuana were issued to attendees, only two arrests were made directly at the pro-legalization festival, said Detective David Foster.
One came when officers observed a man hitting, kicking and jumping on slow-moving vehicles passing by South Pleasant Street at 4:11 p.m.
When officers attempted to speak to the man, he became combative, Foster said. He kicked a police officer and pushed a police mountain bike to the ground, according to Foster. The officer suffered minor injuries and remains on duty, while the mountain bike sustained minor damage, he said.
Dylan David Dresser, 24, of Greenfield, was arrested on charges of disorderly conduct, wanton destruction of property under $250, resisting arrest and assault and battery on a police officer, Foster said.
Rafael Perez, 25, of Holyoke, was arrested Saturday at 1:30 p.m. in the area of the Town Common on a charge of possession with intent to distribute a class D drug (marijuana), according to Foster.
There was also a warrant for his arrest, Foster said.
The estimated 6,000 people in the town center caused some traffic problems, according to police, but there were few medical issues.
Fire department ambulances transported 11 intoxicated patients during the weekend. Five came at the Mullins Center during the Rusko concert Saturday between 9:39 and 11:06 p.m.
Fire Chief Walter “Tim” Nelson said the cool weather, including rain late Friday night into Saturday morning, likely helped reduce problems for his department and police.
“Overall it was a steady weekend, but nothing over the top,” Nelson said.
At the concert, paramedics saw 17 patients at a triage center, and in addition to the five transports to Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton, three concertgoers were placed into protective custody by University of Massachusetts police.
Seven of the people who came to the triage center were UMass students, Nelson said.
Foster said proactive enforcement led to 19 people facing charges of either violating the town’s open container bylaw, which carries with it a $300 penalty, or being minors in possession of alcohol, or both, Foster said.
Saturday at 1:50 a.m., police responded to Cathedral Apartments, 308 North Pleasant St., where a loud group of people were on the roof and setting off fireworks. When warned to come down, one of the residents instead became confrontational with police, Foster said.
Phillip J. Cassidy, 22, of Medway, was arrested on a charge of violating the town’s noise bylaw and possession of a class E drug, Foster said.
At 2:25 a.m., police went to Puffton Village in response to a report that a man suffered a deep cut to his arm and heavy bleeding. Foster said the injury appeared to be self-inflicted, as the man had just punched out a window. He was brought by ambulance to Cooley Dickinson.