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UMass police arrest 15 after Red Sox World Series win



Last modified: Saturday, November 02, 2013
AMHERST — Police arrested 15 people as a crowd estimated at about 3,000 was dispersed from the Southwest courtyard at the University of Massachusetts after the Red Sox World Series win Wednesday night.

Police clad in riot gear used one smoke grenade and pepper-spray pellets during the disturbance in the Southwest Residential Area. The crowd was dispersed about an hour after the game ended, and no injuries were reported.

UMass posted a statement on its website early Thursday reporting that 14 people were charged with failing to disperse, and one with being disorderly. Two of the people charged with failing to disperse also were charged with assault and battery on a police officer. Fourteen of those arrested are UMass Amherst students.

Students threw water bottles and toilet paper, and some climbed trees immediately after Boston defeated St. Louis 6-1 in Game 6 of the World Series. Many students had earlier watched the game at Southwest and participated in activities there sponsored by the university. UMass reported that one inflatable amusement was damaged ruing the post-game disturbance.

When the crowd of students grew in the courtyard near Berkshire Dining Commons after the game ended, about 20 police officers on horseback and foot formed a line near George Washington Tower and began pushing students away toward the main campus.

Police also used a long-range acoustic device which emitted a loud siren noise in an effort to disperse students.

Edward F. Blaguszewski, director of the news office at UMass, confirmed in an interview shortly before 2 a.m. Thursday that some students had been arrested. He also confirmed that one smoke grenade was used to help disperse the crowd in the Southwest area, and that pepper balls — which release a peppery irritant — were fired into the ground by UMass police.

Blaguszewski said that Massachusetts State Police and the Amherst Police Department assisted.

About 11:45 p.m., many students started running toward the main campus as police stayed in the Southwest area. Most students were gone within an hour after the game ended.

During the game

Earlier, an estimated 2,000 students gathered in the residential area Wednesday night to watch the Red Sox win their third World Series in the past decade.

“Let’s go Red Sox!” chanted one student as he walked past the Berkshire Dining Commons. He was promptly answered by another, yelling out the window of a dorm room a few stories above: “Go Cards!”

Inside, students gathered to watch the game as they ate, pausing briefly now and then to take a bite before turning their gazes back to the screen. At one table, mechanical engineering student and diehard Red Sox fan Matt Kinney sat with a group of friends to cheer for his team.

“I’m hoping Papi hits a walk-off,” said Kinney, 19, of Franklin. “The last time they (beat the Cardinals in the World Series) in 2004, was on my 10th birthday. I turned 10 at midnight,” he said.

“We’re also hoping (Stephen) Drew gets a good hit tonight,” said Dakota Craig, Kinney’s friend who is also from Franklin. “That would be almost as good.”

In the fourth inning, they got their wish when Drew nailed a home run.

In the Hampshire Dining Common, the scene was much the same. Cheers and clapping rang out as the Red Sox scored the first three runs of the game in the bottom of the third inning.

“Let’s pull out a win,” said Jack Rosen, a 20-year-old political science major from Upton as he watched the game in the Hampshire Room. “That’s all that matters in the end.”

About 10 p.m., university employees began offering free food, inflatable obstacle courses, and other activities outside the Southwest dormitories as part of a program developed by the Student Government Association and the Office of Student Affairs in an effort to control unruly student behavior after the game.

The goal, according to Student Government Association speaker Sionan Barrett, was to provide students with a positive environment in which to channel their energy. The university has a history of post-game celebrations that turned into riots, including most recently the 2012 Super Bowl, when the New England Patriots lost to the New York Giants. Police arrested 13 students during a subsequent riot in the Southwest area which took 90 minutes to clear.

“This initiative came about because we wanted to provide fun alternatives to residents and to change the ‘zoomass’ culture of UMass to a culture that celebrates and loves all of the accomplishments of our sports teams and school accomplishments in a safe way,” Barrett wrote in an email.

Diego Fallows, 20, a member of Student Activities and Involvement which helped plan Wednesday night’s activities, watched the game on a giant inflatable projector screen outside the Berkshire Dining Commons. “This season has just been incredible, the whole thing,” he said. “From worst to first!”