Monday, April 30, 2001

Police clash with party-goers near Ohio State

The Associated Press

        COLUMBUS — For the second time in two weeks, police had to fire tear gas and wooden projectiles in off-campus areas near Ohio State University to break up crowds of rowdy party-goers early Sunday.

        About a dozen people were arrested, police spokesman Sgt. Earl Smith said. He said he couldn't count the times crowd control tactics were used to stop people from throwing objects at officers.

        “Virtually every officer on duty had to dodge bricks or bottles,” he said. “It wasn't uncommon for officers to get hit more than once.”

        Sgt. Smith said the presence of university officials was not enough to halt the crowds. He said crowds reached about 2,000 at the peak of the disturbance.

        “Every time we'd break a group up somewhere, they'd simply move to another location,” he said.

        He said the disturbance began late Saturday and it took until about 4 a.m. Sunday to bring the crowds under control.

        “(University President) Brit Kirwan and (student affairs vice president) Bill Hall were there, we had a number of church groups on hand and plenty of positive things we hoped would attract people, but there's still too many drunken fools trying to create problems for the neighborhood,” Sgt. Smith said.

        The latest disturbance was the sixth in the campus area since last April.

        Sgt. Smith said everyone from the mayor's office to the people living in the neighborhood are angry and frustrated.

        Police and university officials had spent last week knocking on doors of student residences near the campus and talking to students after a front-page story in the student newspaper, The Lantern, described plans for a large party.

        Ohio State sponsored two alcohol-free barbecues, sent teams of university employees around neighborhoods near campus and passed out “sober host” kits containing soft drinks, T-shirts, trash bags and signs warning against underage drinking.

        The university had posted pictures of the previous weekend's disturbances on its Web site and offered as much as $250 for identification of students whose behavior was being questioned. Mr. Hall said the offer resulted in two identifications.


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