Jared Dawon, age 21, stands before Eastern Hampshire District Court Judge David Ross
In a last second change of heart Jared Dawson, a senior at UMass, decided not to take chances with a jury this morning on the serious charge of "assault and battery on a police officer" during the infamous March 8 Blarney Blowout, where thousands of out-of-control college aged youth disrupted the entire town of Amherst.
Assistant District Attorney Bob Obsitnick told the Judge that Dawson was front and center of a large crowd that was being "volatile, aggressive and destructive."
Amherst and UMass police were trying to push a crowd of 3,000 from Brandywine Apartments/Puffton Village back towards the center of the campus just after noon on March 8th.
Dawson refused to disperse and was "hovering" while flipping officers the middle finger and yelling "Fuck you!" This unruly behavior only served to incite further the immediate crowd around him.
He was hit with a one second burst of OC spray from 4 feet away and wrestled to the ground where he then assaulted an officer with a "meaningful kick."
His lawyer admitted that his client's conduct "was disorderly" and that the Blarney Blowout was a "black mark for the town and University" but Dawson has no prior record, works for his Dad, and is willing to do community service.
Judge Ross paused, then looked directly at Dawson saying, "The difficulty with these cases is with that many intoxicated people there's a real public danger. Disorderly conduct has a whole different meaning in that context."
The Judge then said he would accept the plea but, "I don't want to underplay the significance of what you got involved in." So he added an extra provision to the standard "letter of apology".
Judge Ross ordered the defendant to apologize in person to the officers involved and to write TWO letters for publication: one to the Amherst Bulletin, apologizing to the entire town and the other to the UMass Daily Collegian to inform fellow students of the "consequences of this kind of behavior."
In addition Jarad Dawson was placed on probation for six months (with a $65/month charge), ordered to perform 20 hours of community service, pay $200 in restitution to APD, and a $50 witness protection fee.
At the conclusion of the hearing, out in the hallway, with his brothers and father alongside him, Dawson apologized and shook hands with the three members of APD who had come to Court ready to testify at trial.
According to DA's office, Blarney Blowout tally sheet as of July 7:
There was a total of 60 cases, 20% (12 cases) of those are completely closed, 67% (40 cases) are still on probation, and 13% (8 cases) are still open and have PTH dates set.