Friday, September 19, 2014

Blarney Blowout BS

Town Manager Musante and UMass Chancellor Subbaswamy looking glum

While there's not a single "recommendation" made by Mr. Davis in his 65 page, $160,000 report -- especially increased APD staffing -- that I oppose, there's one sentiment I strongly disagree with:  police used too much "force" breaking up the unruly crowds and by donning riot gear in the face of incoming rocks, bottles and cans, officers incited the mob to further violence.

 Last night's media reports blaming police response

APD Chief Livingstone (left) UMPD Chief Horvath (right)


Both beleaguered police chiefs stood firm in their support of actions taken by vastly outnumbered officers that regrettable day, with UMPD Chief Horvath going so far as to say it would have been "negligent" for officers not to move in to disperse the crowd once things got out of hand -- which occurred before the riot gear appeared. 

 Print, Television, Digital media in attendance

Despite the last minute notice (3:52 PM yesterday afternoon) the Friday morning press conference was well attended by the media, although only a small percentage of the outlets who carried stories about the Blarney Blowout in the days after the extraordinary event.

Ed Davis (center with yellow tie)

Chief Livingstone (white hat) on scene Fearing & North Pleasant streets March 8, 2:00 PM

With his officers outnumbered 100-1, with their backs to the very outskirts of Amherst town center, and with rocks, bottles and ice chunks starting to rain down on them from above, the police had no choice but to break up the surging unruly crowd.  

Yes, by means other than asking "pretty please." Now I fear police will think twice about ever using force again.  



Certainly, by all means, let's hope for a better future:



42 comments:

Anonymous said...

After reading the whole 65 page report all Ed Davis recommended was using common sense. More police training, better collaboration between departments, workshops for students on the abuse of alcohol, and more non-alcohol events. In the report he also recommended cancelling the Blarney Blowout? Um.. how would that happen? The Blarney Blowout is a word of mouth event using social media so You'd have to cancel Twitter and Facebook. Requiring bars downtown to open later and no allowing lines outside will help but come March 7, 2015 if the weather is nice again I just can't see how this won't happen again unless the police flood the town with hundreds of police and have the stationed all over the apartment quads and downtown.

Larry Kelley said...

Yeah it kind of reminds me of the "war on terrorism" implemented in the wake of 9/11.

Sure terrorism is terrible and should be eradicated, but how?

Anonymous said...

17 police officers....17. Versus THOUSANDS. Hey Ed, your (200/300+) cops KILLED a girl after the 2004 World Series. Killed. Dead. How many serious injuries at the BB? ZERO. This report was bought and paid for by The U. Just point the finger and accept no responsibility. Nothing will get done. AFD and APD will be vastly outnumbered again. & again. & again. Till the levy breaks. Good luck. Gunna be a bumpy ride.

Lewd_Ood said...

Yup - I guess the 12 pages (pgs. 32-44, about 1/5 of the entire report) calling into question just about every action the APD took that day are completely off-base, because you and your good pal Chief Livingstone think they acted perfectly reasonably.

The APD is savaged by this report, and rightly so.

Let's see if the APD can leave the riot helmets and pepper balls in their cars next time they want to break up a party.

Let's see if the APD can have the forethought and preparation to actually have uniformed officers on-scene as the next big outdoor party develops (rather than marching in formation to break up the party too late), which would keep kids from getting out of hand in the first place and might dissuade other students from joining the party.

Let's see if the APD actually trains their officers on the proper use and deployment of chemical weapons like pepper balls, foggers and smoke grenades so we don't have another situation of officers fogging kids for no reason or firing pepper balls into open residential windows.

Let's see if the APD follows up with the internal investigation Davis calls for (pg. 40) on the officer who used the pepper spray fogger (twice) directly into the face of an unarmed, non-threatening student who was simply standing by himself, well away from any "gathering."

Let's see if the APD gets their public complaint/oversight process in order, since pg 42 of the report politely describes a coverup by the APD to bury any use-of-force complaints students tried to file with the department.

We all know you have no love for the students, Larry. What's sad about this post is that you make it clear you enjoy watching the kids getting manhandled and roughed up by the police, even though the Davis Report clearly states that it was all completely and totally wrong.

Larry Kelley said...

I've been covering the sad saga of rowdy students who give everyone a bad name for many years now up close and personal, and I have yet to see innocent kids get "roughed up and manhandled" by police.

Anonymous said...

3 cheers for both chiefs and APD. I hope they continue to wear riot gear and protect themselves. We can't afford to have injured officers out from a flying bottle. As for Ed Davis go back to Boston we don't need you out here.

Anonymous said...

It's easy for Davis to point fingers having never seen the melee. Will he be here tomorrow for halfway to blarney blowout? Could he pass a fitness for duty test? I willing to bet no on both questions.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 2:56 PM

Just FYI ... Ed Davis wasn't commissioner when Tori Snelgrove was shot with a rubber bullet by the police in Boston in 2004. Davis started in 2006.

Anonymous said...

@Lewd: The report is unbiased right? Don't beleive everything you read, especially when paid for by UMass. Objective? Puh-leeze. What ever happened to that awesome mutual aid agreement that would supplement apd with the 60 UMPD officers? They sent three. If Ed knew anything about police work (he was a politician in Boston, he was no cop) he would know that no gas was used. And the cops would have been justified in using thier batons. Whats worse? A broken leg/arm or burning that subsides in 45minues to an hour? Here is a tip: the cops show up and tell you to leave because bottles are flying and kids are getting hurt..then leave. Oh and btw, the cops cannot move in to a party until it becomes a disturbance. Its called freedom of assembly. If they moved in every time the GL said they could (5 or more people armed, 10 or more unarmed) how many incidents would there be? You sir/maam are a cluless twit. Thats right. I am a cowardly anon nitwit calling you out.

Anonymous said...

Just curious about your Tweet last night Larry, about Club Lit not allowing officers in? Is that legal? I thought the police randomly do checks of all the bars. Do you know if anything came of this?

Larry Kelley said...

The shift supervisor sorted that out very quickly.

I heard about 10 minutes later the original officer tell Dispatch he had gained entry, checked IDs and would update the CAD narrative later.

Which makes me wonder what he discovered.

Lewd_Ood said...

So Larry, this kid got what he deserved, huh?
http://big.assets.huffingtonpost.com/inthefacezoo.gif

And to the "cowardly anon nitwit" (your words, not mine) at 3:21, I'm not sure what scares me more about you -- your belief that the report is some sort of conspiracy against the APD because it was commissioned by UMass (who else was going to pay for it???), or your statement that the cops would have been justified using batons that day.

Against your first complaint - the report takes the university to task for everything it was responsible for: planning and prevention. The parties were all off-campus, there's not a whole lot the school can do to combat off-campus partying. Where they failed most was in not realizing the size of the influx of non-UMass students to the campus the night before and cracking down on guest procedures. That's since been remedied. But the school can't police beyond its borders. It can certainly advise and work in cooperation with the town, but it can't go door-to-door the night before and say "no partying," though they came close with the warnings they emailed and posted to social media in the days leading up to the Blowout.

As for your second point, well, you just have a blood lust. If you think it would have been "justified" for heavily geared riot police to wade into what was ostensibly a relatively peaceful (if loud and somewhat rowdy) party to use batons to break it up, well, there's probably no reasoning with you.

As for the mutual aid agreement, read the report -- the APD (in command for this event since it was off-campus) didn't share in ops planning for this, and frankly, they dropped the ball by their devoting resources downtown at the bars that day. They were caught completely off-guard, and when they deployed officers to break up the party they didn't wait for proper reinforcements, they started marching in formation in full riot gear. Cue the bottles being thrown.

And as per the report, the APD didn't give the kids enough time to clear out before making their move on them (pg 37). A couple thousand kids can't magically disappear 30 secs after giving an order to disperse.

You talk like you're police, and like you have a dog in this fight. Makes me think you're APD yourself. If you are, based on your tone you sound like the one of the problems the report's trying to remedy. The days of skull-cracking because someone doesn't jump as soon as you tell them "how high" are over. I've known police with an attitude like yours, and they give a bad name create distrust to the whole profession. If you aren't police, I really gotta worry about why you'd be ok for batons to be drawn in this situation.

Anyway, the APD screwed the pooch on this, pure and simple, and I'm glad the report says as much.

Anonymous said...

UMass need to change its policy for incoming freshmen, to have freshmen be the LAST to arrive for school. They should only be allowed to move in the day before classes start. This will prevent them having an entire weekend for underage students to party before classes start, and set an academic rather than party mood for them.

Anonymous said...

Got a link to the report doc?

Larry Kelley said...

http://www.umass.edu/newsoffice/sites/default/files/attachments/Amherst%20final%20report%20%209-17-14.pdf

Anonymous said...

BB2K15 folks. Can't. Wait.

Anonymous said...

Absolute rubbish, this report is inexcusable. The fact that it was conducted by a former police commissioner proves the old adage of "fuck up, move up". A bunch of cliches, tied together with overt sympathy for criminals. Richard Marsh.

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:05 pm... do you assume that this kid was just standing there doing nothing, and the officer just walked up to him and sprayed him... knowing that everything they were doing was being recorded? Seriously. Doesn't common sense tell you that he was given direction to leave the area, and refused? Richard Marsh

Anonymous said...

Richard Marsh. Seriously.

Anonymous said...

At the end of the day, one would be remiss to fail to see the fault from all parties involved. It was a bad day for the entire Amherst community and hopefully everyone can learn from this and take Davis' advice. This is a serious matter and simply disagreeing with him will most likely result in potentially more dangerous events in the future. Amherst is too nice a place to have something like this looming over it. Chris.

Anonymous said...

Could we please get back to criticizing every action the school and town administrators take each day? Davis' team obviously does not understand whom this town's goats are.

Dr. Ed said...

You know, boys 'n' girls, I'd love to know how critical the report was before it got toned down....

And what's not being said here is that report is admissible in civil rights suits against the APD.

Larry Kelley said...

None have been filed.

Dr. Ed said...

I didn't say suit over this but suit over the next incident. APD is now on notice that they shouldn't have done what they did.

That they acted inappropriately made national news. And as I understand Section 1983 lawsuits, once you know you ought not have done something, you are in much more trouble if you do it again.

Anonymous said...

Lewd-
As someone who was a witness to Blarney that day, the officers were not in full riot gear. They only had helmets on. Full riot gear entails helmet, chest protection, leg protection, shields etc. Non of that was deployed, were mistakes made? Yes. Each chief admitted that, but they also stand behind their officers. They had split seconds to make decisions, and this guy gets 160k and 4 months to critique it. No police dept is perfect, nor is any officer. Steps will be taken to correct and proceed. It was inappropriate for the university to step in and pay for someone to evaluate something that happened off campus. Us townfolk don't demand an invest into what campus security does do we? It was a PR push to protect their reputation and students. Bottom line- if the students behave, and be adults, and listen to officers, none of this would have been necessary.

A. Nit Wit

Anonymous said...

Let the little darlings party and destroy each other and the buildings around them. Hell there are enough people profiting from this shit. Why should the understaffed cops and firefighters subject themselves to this. It is no wonder we continue to lose so many of the best ones0 .

Anonymous said...

The message seems to be:

Next time, let the little darlings do what they're going to do.

Anonymous said...

I really think that Mr. Davis should throw in, at no extra charge, his presence at the next melee, so he can consult.

Then he'll see how easy it is.

Not.

Larry Kelley said...

Yeah, I would have been happy to take him on a ride along.

Last night would demonstrated the pervasive problem we have here in our little "college town" with alcohol.

Anonymous said...

What accountability does the Town Manager hold? He has stripped the police of 5 officers and does not appear to have a plan to replenish the force much less grow it to its needed level of staffing.

Who cares, it's only the future said...

What Ponziville needs

is a powerful community organizer

to guide it.

A person

who knows the place.

Who acts ~exactly~

like "we" do.

Who takes responsibility

for every friggan decision

they make.

Leading us

because we truly are

completely

~off-beam~.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kga1KVDIyLg


-Squeaky Squeaks

p.s. Goddammit, how can you friggan chimps ~bear~ to show your faces in public???

anon said...

The police did not march in full SWAT armor because the students were throwing rocks, ice and bottles.

Thats not what happened.

The police issued an order to disperse. When some students did not immediately disperse, the APD attacked with pepper balls and physical force.

THIS is what incited the students to start throwing rocks and ice.

So Davis is right. There was excessive force by the APD and that is what escalated the situation. If the APD had a little bit of sense about community policing, this brutal confrontation between the police and partiers could have been avoided.

Larry Kelley said...

Wrong.

I was at Fearing and North Pleasant in front of the Frat with Chief Livingstone and a large half full quart bottle of beer exploded about 15 yards from us BEFORE his officers started firing the OC pellets.

Another UMPD officer near me was hit by a projectile (before the OC was used) and was none to happy about it.

Anonymous said...

They were throwing things at each other and at our windows BEFORE the police did anything. I know, I live in Brandywine and watched it, I believe in factual assessments and what I have read of this report does not mention any of this. Nobody knocked on any of our doors to talk with us about what we may have seen.
No longer feeling safe here.

Anonymous said...

The town and business should embrace it. They should use the model of the block party from this past week has their model. Holyoke closes down streets and allows people to drink all day and they have tens of thousands people show up to their Road Race day.

Larry Kelley said...

Well there's a counter-intuitive argument. Yikes!

Dr. Ed said...

"I was at Fearing and North Pleasant in front of the Frat with Chief Livingstone and a large half full quart bottle of beer exploded about 15 yards from us BEFORE his officers started firing the OC pellets."

Larry, exactly what part of a dispersal order doesn't apply to you????

Larry Kelley said...

Only three kinds of people sprint towards a disaster: cops, firefighters and reporters.

Anonymous said...

don't forget the lawyers...

Anonymous said...

Only two things fall from the sky; Shit and Idiots...

Dr.Ed said...

"Only three kinds of people sprint towards a disaster: cops, firefighters and reporters."

That does not negate that fact that a reporter has no more rights than the "average citizen" -- if the "dispersal orders" are even legal in the first place, they apply to everyone INCLUDING YOU, Larry.

It's the same thing as having to evacuate a burning building and staying behind the "yellow tape" -- a reporter can't crawl under it and start walking around -- let alone remain remain in the burning building. The FD orders everyone out and that means everyone but them & the police.

Yes, they may let someone with a needed skill/ability in (e.g. a WMECO guy to pull a meter or even a professor to help deal with some unique hazard in his lab), in cold weather it's not unheard of for them to request the DPW spread sand/salt in an attempt to keep the ice under control (e.g. Rolling Green) -- but those are specific people called in for specific things.

Everyone else has to stay out and/or stay back behind the fire lines. THAT INCLUDES REPORTERS...

So Larry, how the hell do you get away with ignoring dispersal orders????

Larry Kelley said...

God is on my side. And I'm Irish.