Police respond to a riot south of Colorado State campus, same location as in the spring

Hannah Hemperly

Street signs lie in a pile at the intersection of Meridian Avenue and Lake Street Sunday morning.
Street signs lie in a pile at the intersection of Meridian Avenue and Lake Street Sunday morning. (Photo credit: Kate Winkle)
Fort Collins Police responded to a riot Saturday night just south of Colorado State University, according to police dispatchers.

Police said the riot broke out along the 700 block of Blevins Court and South Whitcomb Street, and involved thrown glass and vandalized street signs. Police were first contacted regarding the party at 10:51 p.m. and officers arrived at the scene shortly after.

The riot is now the fourth in a series of party-turned-riots that have occurred since 2011.
On April 12, 2014, what started as a party on the 500 block of Blevins Court, just two blocks from the party on Saturday, turned into a crowd of college kids throwing beer bottles, climbing atop of random students’ cars and yelling profanities at police. 
According to police, the Saturday night riot was comprised of 300 to 400 people, involving smashed bottles against police cars, and students taking down stop and parking signs.
Rovel Berhe, CSU junior studying construction management, who lives nearby Blevins Court, said he got to the party around 10 p.m., and remembers the hosts were not letting a lot of people into the house.

Ad

“The party wasn’t really open to the people outside,” Berhe said.  “The people were just hanging around the block … just standing, socializing. Mobs of freshmen were coming in … the people that live in the culdesac were trying to get people to leave.”

Berhe said it was around 11 p.m. when the police arrived and “things got out of hand.”

He said he saw one or two people throwing bottles at the police.

“It all started with one or two people,” Berhe said. “Everyone else was cheering them on … I guess that gave bravery to all the other students to go wild.

Berhe, who attended the April 2013 riots near Prospect Road and Skyline Drive, said the Saturday riot was significantly smaller than the one in 2013, which involved tear gas released at the rioters.

Berhe said he saw what he thought was a tear gas canister Saturday night, recognizing seeing something similar from 2013.

According to Fort Collins Deputy Chief Cory Christensen, no tear gas was released, but he said police could have been using body cameras.

“I would venture to guess there were cameras … 60 of them were deployed,” Christensen said. “At least one of the officers could have had a camera.”

The riot ended at approximately 12:30 a.m. on Sunday after police had closed off the intersections of Prospect Road and Shields Street, Center Avenue and Prospect Road and Pitkin Street and Shields Street.

According to Berhe, the police did not clear the area until after the majority of partygoers had already cleared the premises.

“The police did a horrible job of handling it,” Berhe said. “They didn’t actually clear the whole area, they just let it happen … when people were pulling out stop signs … they didn’t stop the fighting.”

Ad

Christensen said no arrests were made Saturday night or Sunday, but the neighborhood enforcement team will be conducting a follow-up on the case this week.

Fort Collins police expect to make arrests and potentially charge people with the incident.

According to CSU’s Executive Director of Public Relations Mike Hooker, the University police are going to work closely with Fort Collins police to identify students involved in illegal behavior.

“While Saturday night’s incident is still under investigation, Colorado State University takes this situation very seriously,” stated Hooker in an email to the Collegian. “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.”

In September, the University landed No. 8 on Playboy’s list of top party schools in the country, citing Fort Collins’ “legendary house parties” among the reason for placement.

“The school is getting a bad name because of one or two students,” Berhe said. “More people were spectators than rioters. I hate that it’s giving us [CSU] a bad name just because of that.”

Berhe said he thinks the riots are the fault of both the police and the students involved.

“I just feel like these situations should be handled differently, by the cops and the students,” Berhe said. “They [the police] should know what to do in these situations.”

Collegian News Editor Hannah Hemperly can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @kawanhannah.

Related articles