*Sigh*, why did I move here?

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Why did I move here? The police are fascists. The students are boors. I can't buy a decent latte! I may move to Santa Fe. Or not.


Bloomington Herald Times April 3, 2002


Police use tear gas on unruly crowd after loss.

Students complain they were given no warning

By Christopher C. Paine and Paula Freund, H-T Staff Writers

With a crowd of almost a thousand turning nasty downtown and refusing to go home, Bloomington Police Chief Mike Hostetler ordered the use of tear gas early Tuesday.

Discontented Indiana University fans spilled into city streets just after IU's loss to Maryland in the NCAA championship game, growing increasingly rowdy even as many drifted away. By 12:30 a.m., the crowd had directed its attention toward and turned on the more than 150 officers at the intersection of Kirkwood Avenue and Dunn Street leaving police no choice but to react, said Bloomington police Capt. Joe Qualters.

The deployment of tear gas was a last resort to respond to a "discouraging and disappointing" display of violence against the city officers and state police troopers who had previously supported the celebratory atmosphere in town after IU's earlier three wins, he said.

"The mentality and focal point became the taunting and assaults on officers, rather than the jovial celebration of the previous three times," when people high-fived, thanked, hugged and even kissed the officers, Qualters said. "It's like the foundation was being laid for a grand plan of different events."

The deployment was implemented also as a result of numerous head injuries to people in the crowd and fires burning out of control, Qualters said. At night's end, 21 city police officers reported minor injuries, while three state police troopers were injured one with a cut on his leg that required seven stitches, and another with a head injury that received eight stitches, said Bloomington police Capt. Mike Diekhoff.

Forty-seven of the roughly 85 state police troopers reported being struck with rocks and bottles, Diekhoff said.

What had begun as a night of relatively peaceful celebration of a great season deteriorated into widespread vandalism by drunken, college-age individuals, he said. Crowd members began burning clothes and other items in the street.

Plywood pulled from the front of the boarded-up Greetings card shop near the intersection of Kirkwood and Dunn was set ablaze. That's when police moved en masse to drive back the crowd, allowing firefighters access to the blaze.

State police officers carrying shields and other protective gear found themselves sparring with crowd members at the intersection of Kirkwood and Dunn. Bloomington police officers trapped in the melee required assistance from fellow officers to bring them to safety.

The city and state police squads regrouped on the outer perimeter of the site in an effort to assess the situation and perhaps give the crowd a chance to go home on their own, Qualters said.

But the crowd grew more and more surly. As the group edged toward the officers, people began throwing bottles and rocks at the officers in standby mode.

"We had face shields that were broken from the impact from some of that stuff," Qualters said. "It reduced what options we had left."

Hostetler gave the order for deployment, and officers alerted the crowd through bullhorns that they had to leave the area, Qualters said. Once the gases were deployed, the masses quickly fled.

The state police used nine canisters of aerosol orthochlorbenzalmalononitrile, a manmade product devised by the military for crowd control, said Bloomington police field training officer Mick Williams.

Meanwhile, three Bloomington police sergeants carried pellet guns containing oleoresin capsicum, a natural substance derived from the oils and resins of chili peppers, Williams said. Both types of irritants were powder, which tends to affect the respiratory system more than a liquid, he said.

The recovery times from the substances are 20 to 30 minutes. Fresh air and cool water are the best ways to alleviate the discomfort, Williams said.

Some crowd members said they were sprayed with pepper spray and forcibly moved down the street prior to the tear gas release.

"They pepper-sprayed me do you know how that hurts!" said Dave Bush, 20, an IU student studying conservation. "There is a riot, and I understand they have to do what they have to do, but they didn't have to head butt me in the face with a shield after being ordered to move."

Bush wasn't the only one taken by surprise. Sitting on a burnt barrel in the middle of Kirkwood after the tear gas was deployed, Nick Cookerly, 22, an IU senior majoring in marketing, paused to take it in.

"I was here," Cookerly said. "I didn't see that coming at all."

Tramel Raggs, an IU senior originally from Gary, said he was hit in the head and legs by the pepper pellets fired by police. He said he heard no warning that tear gas was about to be used.

"They could have easily done that," Raggs said. "If they would have said, 'You have 10 minutes, then we are going to use the tear gas,' people would have gone away."

Aaron Oshea, 24, also complained that the crowd was not warned about the gas.

"I was here the whole time," said Oshea, as he sought to help those affected by the burning powders. "I've been passing out wet cloths and saline. I watched them give zero warning."

For the most part, the tear gas did its job in sending the crowd home, Diekhoff said. But around 3 a.m., about 100 people still milled about the area, causing problems, he said.

Qualters said the night's events were "much worse" than the near-campus riots in the early 1990s during Little 500 weekend. Those incidents involved smaller groups that were easier to control, while Tuesday morning's centralized crowd wouldn't budge, he said.

"The mob mentality kicked in," Qualters said. "Even our efforts at minimal intervention, which we had been successful at Saturday, seemed to incite the crowd."

Indiana State Police public information officer Jackie Taylor, who was among the troopers reassembling before tear gas was released, said the crowd's temperament grew rowdier by the minute.

"The crowd kept getting uglier, and the beer bottles kept coming faster," she said. "They were told to disperse, and they refused. The longer we waited, the more agitated the crowd was getting."

Damage was limited to a few broken windows, uprooted trees and street signs, and vandalism to cars. Several fires, including the one fueled by plywood ripped off the front of Greetings, also were lit.

Several people with head injuries were transported to Bloomington Hospital for treatment. IU and city police officers arrested about 20 people in the Kirkwood area for alcohol violations or disorderly conduct.

"We planned for the worst and hoped for the best," Diekhoff said. "It's just really unfortunate. It really kind of diminished what the basketball program did this year."

But it wasn't an unhappy ending for everyone.

"This was a gift," said Matt Berry, manager of Round Cart Doggs, who sold hot dogs throughout the evening. "I made a bunch of money."

Berry, a Bloomington resident, sympathized with the police after rioters tried to steal his tips jar three times and his umbrella twice.

"(The officers) were under attack, but they didn't have many options," Berry said. "It was a degrading situation, and they diffused it with the least amount of violence."

-- (diane@IU.edu), April 03, 2002


Yo bitch, shut up and bring me another brewski

-- (Ed@Santa.Fe), April 03, 2002.

Ed, don't you live in Taos?

-- (Roland@hatemail.com), April 03, 2002.

I hope she banned them all for "spamming."

-- (LOL@LOL.LOL), April 03, 2002.

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