400 riot in Fort Collins, burning and looting

25 Aug

til it breaks notes:

A longer media story and videos of the riot can be found here.

Apparently rioters were heard to shout “fuck the police” and generally deny the authority of the cops as the riot unfolded, at least until the cops and SWAT team deployed enough tear gas and other weapons to disperse them.

Arrests have been made in the wake of the riot as police reviewed video footage and issued warrants.  No matter how drunk you are during a riot, always remember to always cover your face!

FORT COLLINS — Five people have been cited for disorderly conduct and Fort Collins and Colorado State University police are reviewing videotapes to see whether they can identify others who spurred a riot that rolled through Old Town early Sunday morning.

So far, no students have been linked to the brawl, and officials are insisting that this won’t turn out to be another riot-plagued start to the school year.

Police used tear gas and pepper-spray balls to break up a crowd of 400 people near the intersection of North College and Mountain avenues after the Earth, Wind & Fire concert Saturday night at the annual Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest ended, said police spokeswoman Rita Davis.

It apparently all started after two men were ejected from a downtown bar. Several fights ensued.

Rioters began throwing beer bottles, patio furniture and other objects at police while damaging cars, stealing items from vendor tents and setting trash cans on fire, Davis said.

Some were injured in the fighting, including two men who went through the window of the Santa Fe Craftsman shop at 118 N. College Ave. They were taken to the hospital by ambulance before police could identify them, Davis said.

At least one vendor tent was burned in the rioting.

Most of the injuries were cuts and scrapes, Davis said. Police warned the crowd to disperse before using tear gas, she said.

The crowd still did not break up, so the SWAT and Mobile Field Force teams moved in. They also used pepper-spray pellets, which are small projectiles made up of a powdered chemical that irritates the eyes and nose.

The pepper pellets are commonly used in riot situations because they are extremely accurate and specific in targeting, she said. Police in Boulder used similar tactics to break up huge, unruly crowds on The Hill near the University of Colorado campus in 2004 and 2001.

Fort Collins police and CSU officials are examining video to see whether other rioters can be identified and cited.

“We take this very seriously,” said CSU spokesman Brad Bohlander.

In August 2004, four students were expelled from the school for their participation in weekend rioting just before classes began. Police used tear gas to break up the brawl, as alcohol-fueled crowds hurled rocks and bottles at police cars.

Those riots were different, however, in that they occurred in neighborhoods around the CSU campus, Bohlander said.

“At NewWestFest, those are not neighborhoods where students live,” Bohlander said.

Police also were saying that no CSU students had been linked to the Sunday morning riot.

“The picture we have now is that it was not a CSU party,” Davis said.

Santa Fe Craftsman owner Bob Criswell on Monday shrugged off the melee.

“It’s just two guys got into a fight and went through the front window here,” Criswell said. “It’s no big deal.”

Between the destroyed Navajo pottery on display behind the window and the window itself, Criswell figures the riot cost him about $3,500.

Criswell had another window smashed earlier this year, also most likely by drunken revelers visiting Old Town’s bars. But he’s not complaining because Old Town and the people drawn there have been good to his 20-year-old business — the last five in the downtown location.

“I love Fort Collins, and we’re having a great time down here,” Criswell said. “It’s just a big hullabaloo over two young men who got into a fight.”


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