Police use tear gas and pepper spray to disperse block party

Alex Sirney -- April 10th, 2010

4/12 Press conference updates
dumpster fire at block partyThe “Springfest” block party was broken up Saturday evening by police using tear gas and pepper spray after party-goers threw beer bottles and rocks at police officers.

The confrontation occurred in the Village Lane area of Harrisonburg during an annual block party that police estimate drew 8,000 revelers.

Criminal Investigation Division Commander Lt. Kurt Boshart said that while the incident was still under investigation, the understanding as of Sunday afternoon is that Harrisonburg police officers initially attempted to disperse the crowd with the handful of officers present after receiving calls from a property owner asking them to break up the party and after several party-goers were taken to the hospital and EMS and police had trouble accessing the area. Police had also received reports of property damage.

Boshart said that the gathering had grown to “8,000 strong,” in contrast to the 1,000 to 2,000 normally seen at similar block parties.

As the officers in standard uniform attempted to disperse the crowd some were hit with rocks and beer bottles. They pulled out and called for backup, following the procedure for civil disturbance. Officers from the Rockingham County Sheriff’s Department, the JMU Police Department, the Staunton Police Department, the Augusta County Sheriff’s Department, the ABC and the Virginia State Police supplemented the HPD, bringing the total to about 200.

The officers took positions on the perimeter in riot gear and declared the block party to be an unlawful assembly, which Boshart said is only done in cases of threat to persons or property. Once an unlawful assembly is declared individuals must leave the premises, and officers ordered those present to disperse using loudspeakers and a text message blast through JMU.

Some members of the crowd dispersed as officers showed an increased presence, but when the full crowd failed to disperse officers advanced, firing tear gas and pepper spray. Riot batons, beanbags and rubber bullets were not used, though Boshart said “foam batons,” a type of round fired from the same launcher as tear gas and bounced off the ground toward a target, were employed in one or two cases.

Boshart stood by the use of force in this case, saying that the behavior of the crowd dictated the police’s response. He also emphasized that chemical munitions – that is, tear gas and pepper spray – are the safest way to disperse a crowd.

As the crowd moved towards Sully Drive and dispersed, Boshart said three or four dumpsters were set on fire.

The full crowd dispersed after several hours and police maintained a strong presence throughout the night, including two State Police helicopters.

Boshart said that about 12 officers received a variety of minor injuries, including one whose shoulder was hurt when a thrown rock broke a riot shield. His understanding is that about 30 party-goers had been treated at the hospital, though the exact number and whether their injuries occurred before, during or after the dispersal was unclear. Boshart denied accounts that a police dog was injured.

Pictures from the event posted to Twitter (search for “JMU Springfest” “JMU police” or “JMU tear gas,” be aware of potentially offensive content) show large crowds and police in riot gear, and later posts reflect the confrontation as do videos posted to YouTube. Be aware that search engines have returned some sites that install malicious software for related searches.

Boshart expressed disappointment that the situation escalated.

“The results come in at the end of the day and nobody wins,” he said. “Our concern is for the community as a whole.”

He also acknowledged that people would likely criticize the police response and said that it was an important discussion to have, but he defended the police action.

“Our purpose is to restore order [in cases of civil unrest],” he said. “The people creating [these situations] are not going to like how we do it.”

Boshart said that about 30 people had been arrested, saying that the police did not have the resources to make large numbers of arrests and disperse the crowd.

The Breeze reported Thursday that police were expecting the block party, though it was originally scheduled to be held in the Fox Hills area on Devon Lane.

The HPD is still currently investigating the incident. Mayor Kai Degner has asked for a report to be made at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

Hburgnews has posted an email JMU President Linwood Rose sent JMU students Sunday afternoon comments sent by Degner in an email Sunday morning.

This came as JMU hosted undecided high school seniors for its “Choices” open house and promotional events this weekend in an area that is home to many JMU students.

The last time a similar incident occurred in Harrisonburg was in the Forest Hills housing area during a block party in August of 2000 that involved a crowd of roughly 2,000 people. Boshart said that after-action reports and discussion led to equipment and procedure improvements that were applied to this situation.

A CNN iReport has been filed and The Breeze, WHSV and the Daily News-Record have reported on the story as well.

JMU spokesman Don Egle was not immediately available for comment.

Representatives from Rockingham Memorial Hospital declined to comment.

Picture taken from YouTube video posted by kurtzliveshere.

[UPDATE: Re-written after Lt. Boshart commented on sequence of events and police response.]
[UPDATE: Link to Rose's and Degner's comments and CNN iReport.]
[UPDATE: Rubber bullets not employed according to Boshart and links to earlier article from The Breeze.]
[UPDATE: Link to The Breeze's Monday article and caution about malicious software in search engine results.]
[UPDATE: New information and clarifications from press conference on 4/12.]

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104 Responses to “Police use tear gas and pepper spray to disperse block party”

  1. Alex Sirney says:

    Tim -

    My understanding from Lt. Boshart is that there were several factors leading to the dispersal orders and subsequent action.

    1. Several people had been taken to the hospital with injuries related to the gathering, possibly from fights and that emergency personnel were unable to respond to additional calls because of the crowds.

    2. The police had received calls from local property owners that property damage had occurred.

    3. Police were vastly outnumbered by the crowds.

    4. Once police on hand attempted to disperse the crowd and were met with thrown projectiles, they felt sufficiently threatened to call for backup, declare it a civil disturbance and enforce the dispersal.

       0 likes

  2. Emmy says:

    Just saw TV3 coverage of this and one of their Facenbook commenters said something to the effect that the majority of the unruly people were not JMU students. That may be true, but after the recent shooting at a party held by students you would think they would start to realize that when you have an open party you are putting yourself at risk of being involved in a situation where you may be blamed for the actions of others.

       1 likes

  3. MB Green says:

    Andrew- unfortunately for you and the other students involved in this, the YouTube videos show the police standing ready and watching the situation until bottles started getting hurled at them.

    My daugher-in-law couldn’t get home from work last night because of this mess. My son finally went up there to get her. He said the road that runs by Days Inn was blocked off, and his impression was that it was more to keep people IN than out.

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  4. eso says:

    I think the police handled this with admirable restraint. They could have gone with batons and knocked the crowd down one person at a time. Instead, they used chemical agents which caused temporary pain. I hardly think that is an unwarranted use of force. If I lived in the area and they asked me, I would have voted for clubbing some of those punks.

    The residents in the area work hard for a living. They don’t deserve to have their property trashed. They and their kids don’t deserve to see people urinating in their yard. They have every right to expect themselves, their lifestyle, and their property, to be left alone.

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  5. Renee says:

    Another video I hadn’t seen yet of police pepper spraying students in the face (that were standing ‘in defiance’, not dispersing, but not being violent), one cop grabbing a student in a neckhold, and students throwing cans:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vqs9eql1W8

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  6. Tim says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vqs9eql1W8

    how is this ok?

    “I think the police handled this with admirable restraint. They could have gone with batons and knocked the crowd down one person at a time. Instead, they used chemical agents which caused temporary pain.” eso

    Reports from the students claim that the hpd did knock people down with shields and other tools, and, btw, when did getting gassed become a good option to a black eye? Seems like both are pretty rotten options.

    The kids should have left when they were warned, no doubt. Should a party of that magnitude exist, in my opinion “no/” But there is an underlying “student v/ local” vibe which the community needs to settle. The students will always rotate, the hpd will remain to be local. It isn’t honest to be paid from out of town money and hate students.

    Other communities have dealt with the same issues for much longer then Hburg, and thrived. Parties aren’t an issue in Charllotesville or Richmond…they have murders.

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  7. Alex Sirney says:

    I’ve added a link to The Breeze’s article, available at:

    http://breezejmu.org/2010/04/12/police-use-tear-gas-and-rubber-bullets-to-disperse-more-than-8000/

    It should be noted that the HPD has not confirmed the use of any weapons other than tear gas and pepper spray, and Boshart explicitly said that the firearms police were carrying contained the standard live rounds they normally do.

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  8. MB Green says:

    JMU has 19000+ students. That means the majority of them had the good sense to be elsewhere on Saturday. Just something to keep in mind in our anger – the majority of students weren’t there. They didn’t do it. The majority of JMU students are really nice kids.

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  9. Brandon says:

    When I heard about the JMU riot, a number of factors entered my mind and I have just written them down below:

    1. Labeling it a “riot” is a joke.

    2. As a JMU alum, I would put my life on the line saying the beer bottle throwing came from friends of JMU students from out of town or the actual townies of Harrisonburg.

    3. Every JMU student learns in the first few weeks, that at JMU beer is free. Every house buys kegs and there is no charge to party guests. So why would students go out and spend their money on 40s.

    4. Its common knowledge that is an open glass/can container is an open invite for the police to arrest you at JMU or any college.

    5. Normally the police will allow underage drinking and drinking, in general, if the person is drinking out of a red Solo cup.

    6. With that said, of course some JMU students were involved and one would expect those people felt it was fun or cool and they were being “college kids”. I have watched plenty of videos and some kids do what the police are asking, some stay to watch and others throw bottles.

    7. From the student p.o.v., its block party weekend, everyone drinks and parties hard, all the alumni comes up and things get wild. That is not an excuse that is just the way it is, right or wrong, is up to your point of view.

    8. I have worked at a gun shop in Harrisonburg, and the Harrisonburg swat team guys (who were customers) are nuts, so calling them in to stop a “riot” was a horrible idea. Its NOT like every police officer is a good person. And it needs to be stated that NOT every student at JMU is a good person.

    9. Also the dynamic of students versus townies at JMU is by far the worst in the state. The Townies hate the students and the students love to openly joke on the townies.

    (things to talk about)

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  10. AP VA says:

    I would just like to add that the police used batons, and I was personally swung at until the officer stopped after my pleading.

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  11. Alex Sirney says:

    Brandon -

    To clarify, the SWAT team was not called. It’s my understanding that the officers were from the civil disturbance unit which comprises officers from Harrisonburg and other jurisdictions and who are equipped with supplemental protective gear including helmets, shields and body armor.

    Anyone with additional information is welcome to contact me directly at acsirney AT gmail DOT com.

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  12. Jack says:

    I was there in 2000 when this happened. They used all of the same police toys except the one that may have actually been effective….a POLICE SIREN!!!!!!

    These yahoos running HPD would rather dispurse a crowd by firing chemical agents and dressing up in riot gear rather than blasting a few sirens and loud speakers in conjunction with some slowly rolling police cruisers for crowd control.

    History repeats itself.

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  13. AP VA,

    Sorry, but I do not have an iota of sympathy for you or your supposedly “law abiding” friend. The mess had been declared an unlawful assembly some time well before the police moved in hard. That means that being there in any way, shape, or form, including “just standing there” or “sitting on the hill,” was illegal. Period. You guys should have gotten out of there long before when you had your various unpleasant encounters with the police.

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  14. JGFitzgerald says:

    Barkley: Tell me if I have this right. ((Presence of police)+(reading of riot act))/(necessity to leave)=1

       0 likes

  15. JGFitzgerald says:

    Jack: The professionalism and restraint of the well-trained and highly professional HPD is proved by the fact that there are not dozens of party-goers in the hospital. That restraint was self-imposed. If the HPD had gone as wild as some of the college-age whiners claim, the people who pay their salaries would have shrugged, if not cheered. Call us backward, but there’s not a whole lot of sympathy for those who were just standing there while arson, vandalism, and mayhem went on around them. Leaving that kind of environment is sort of like coming in out of the rain.

       0 likes

  16. Brandon says:

    Apologizes for using the SWAT name, but that’s what the guys coming in to buy automatic weapons used to call themselves.

    My view is the police are human and if someone throws a glass bottle at me, I am not going to like it and if I am a college student and someone sprays pepper spray I am not going to like it.

    Two wrongs don’t make a right!

    I am noticing the argument on this page is more based more on age and how young college act. The older views are acting like ya were saints and never would have called a police officer a “pig”.

       0 likes

  17. Renee says:

    I have been assuming that the majority of people at the block party and involved in this riot were JMU students. However, many people in attendance have said that many of the ‘bad apples’ were from out of town (since the event was promoted via social networking sites). I also noticed in a Twitter search that there were a lot of people from other cities planning to travel with friends to JMU for Springfest – I’m sure the same info could be found on Facebook.

    I don’t know for sure one way or another. I’d be interested to find out how many of the people that were arrested were JMU students vs. out-of-towners.

    Also, the students-locals negative dynamic has been going on for a long time, and I sense it is becoming slightly less negative as more students graduate and stay in Harrisonburg, becoming “townies”, but it may be something worth discussing. The locals need to realize that JMU students provide a MAJOR part of our local economy, and the students need to realize that all of these services, shops/restaurants, and the nice safe community surrounding them are made possible by the “townies”.

       0 likes

  18. JGFitzgerald says:

    Brandon: We weren’t saints, but at one time people understood that when the cops show up, the party’s over. As to the out-of-towners, one student here made the point that JMU students had a place to go when the police said to go. The visitors had no local place to go, she recounted, and so stayed and engaged the officers. Interesting perspective.

       0 likes

  19. Emmy says:

    I have lived in this town my entire life and I do not hate JMU or it’s students. I recognize what the school means to this town.

    But two things come to mind in the recent comments.

    1. If you are the JMU students who want to have this party and you use Facebook and text and all the other available means to get the word out about the party you have to be aware an enormous amount of non-students will show up. If you do nothing to keep that from happening, then the blame is on you. If I have a party at my home and don’t do anything to keep the guest list down and things get out of hand, I am responsible. Those who had this party are responsible like it or not. You make choices and you have to deal with the consequences.

    2. When the police come and ask you to leave and you don’t, you are breaking the law and if you choose to stay, then you suffer the consequences of that choice.

    Is it possible some police officers overreacted? Sure. But, if you had left when they asked you to, then you wouldn’t be able to complain would you?

       0 likes

  20. Brooke says:

    Brandon – No one is saying anything about sainthood, but no, in my days as a college student at JMU, I would NEVER have called a police officer a pig, to his face or otherwise. Suggesting that type of behavior is just part of being young is just nonsense. I was no saint, but if an officer showed up somewhere I was at a party, and said, “leave,” I’d leave. Period, end of story.
    Then again, I was raised to say “yes, m’am” and “yes, sir” and to respect authority.

    Cops showing up in riot gear is a symptom that the situation has escalated and gotten out of control, it’s not an excuse for people to amp up the misbehavior.

    I don’t think this fiasco is about JMU or all college students or even all young people, but for those who refused to leave or engaged in destructive and disrespectful behavior, yeah, I do think it’s a symptom not being taught responsibility and respect for authority.

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  21. Joe,

    Not quite sure how to read that formula (“reading of riot act” is to be divided by “necessity to leave”?), but indeed I certainly intended to convey that there was a necessity to leave that somehow a bunch of these self-righteous, whining, numbskulls do not seem to get.

    Brandon,

    I did not say anything about what people called the police, but I am an old fart, having turned 62 as of today. OTOH, like Bubby Hussein I have been on the receiving end of tear gas and pepper spray, and narrowly avoided getting billy clubbed. However, as with Bubby, this involved demonstrations over political issues, not a a drunken crowd throwing bottles and stabbing each other.

       0 likes

  22. JGFitzgerald says:

    And as to old, while Dr. Barkley and I may be, he more than I, Emmy and Brooke are not.

       0 likes

  23. Emmy says:

    Brandon, I missed that part of your comment. I just turned 30. I entered college a year earlier than most people and no I would NEVER have called a police officer a pig and I did not behave this way. This is my community, I stayed here for college and I respect those around me.

    I am currently a college student and paying my own way. Perhaps that makes a difference, but my grandfather paid for the first two years of my schooling and I wouldn’t have dreamed of disrespecting him in this manner.

    I’m no saint, but I have always done my best to obey the law and I have enough common sense to know that when the police show up, it is time to leave. I’ve also never seen the point of getting so intoxicated that I couldn’t use my brains.

       0 likes

  24. Dan says:

    There is a lot of coverage on http://thefederalistjmu.webs.com/ including videos, photos and stories

       0 likes

  25. Scott Rogers says:

    Also the dynamic of students versus townies at JMU is by far the worst in the state. The Townies hate the students and the students love to openly joke on the townies.

    Brandon — Are you a Townie, who hates students, or do you still consider yourself a student, and do you love to openly joke on the townies?

    I was a student (graduated in 2000) and have stayed in the area since that time. I have seen JMU and Harrisonburg relations have improved a LOT in the past 10 years. I also think your characterization of townie and student sentiments is way off the mark.

       0 likes

  26. seth says:

    agreed (as someone who’s grown up here, i’ve always felt like the town v gown animosity is primarily an imaginary figment of perceived hostility that stems from people on both sides who prefer to neatly categorize people into groups, of wich their simple minds are able to make sense).

    what i do hate is the glorified shantytown over on port road. it doesn’t surprise me at all that this sort of thing continues to happen over there, as it has been happening since they started building in that fashion. i don’t know so much about blacksburg, but in cville, you don’t see the kinds of massively concentrated student apartments that you do on port road (and while there are probably a number of reasons that this sort of thing doesn’t happen at uva, that, and the existence of a strong greek system that provides a strong social scene in which those greek organizations are required to take responsibility are at the top of my list).

    while it’s obviously too late to do anything about it here, i’d hope that other small towns with universities that have the potential for massive growth will learn their lessons from us.

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  27. Who planned a drinking party for 1000 of their best friends (that they never met) and didn’t have a plan for crowd control? Those were the people that ceded the endgame to the police. The people I drink with don’t stab one another. This is not the Woodstock generation. Just saying.

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  28. Warren Anthony Picciolo says:

    I think the JMU students out here need to stop trying to defend the indefensible. You Tube vids clearly show a situation quickly spinning out of control BEFORE the police arrived, with some already seriously injured. For those “innocents” who got caught up in the mayhem: that is is what happens in a violent, confused and chaotic situation. Anyone with a shred of common sense would have left the scene the instant bottles and full beers began to get thrown through the air.

    As far as the student “ghetto” that has been constructed around the university, it is the fault of the planning commission, the university, and the powerful developers (Forbes) for creating it. The planning commission wanted to “contain” the students in a specified area of town. The university (and the state) decided not to invest in more on-campus housing so that the students could be accomodated, as they were as recently as the mid-’80′s. The developers’ ineterest is clear: $$$$. No consideration was given for security, for the strain on the roads and public works, or for the general asthetic of our town. The overriding objective was to build it fast, build it cheap, and build it over there (away from “us”).

    I shudder to think in 20 years what that area is going to look like. The new Deer Run? Lincoln Circle? But then those cited above wont have to deal with that mess. Only us average citizens trying to live our lives in peace and safety will. It is beyaond time that we demand our officials are more circumspect, more forward thinking in developing the city, or we WILL have all the ills of a Manassass or Fredricksburg.

       0 likes

  29. AP VA says:

    Barkley-

    I was an invited guest to JMU, and as such was not able to receive the warning text, and as for leaving, that’s what I was trying to do, but since behind me was a crowd of students in “civil unrest” and in front of me were the police officers, I thought it would be safe to wait paitently until a police officer removed me, so as not to be hurt in the crowd behind me. Instead, I was tackled by the officer who told me to get up and go back to the crowd. Again, as my friend and I were afraid of the crowd, we backed up until we had made some distance between both. Then we were ambushed by the pepper spray officer, which created a neccesity to move into the crowd and toward the apartments where found help.

    I appreciate your comment, but I am not asking for sympathy, I am simply stating my experience.

    I am also made aware that in the riot laws stated above my comment that as a nonrioting guest, I am not guilty of being a participant of the riot.

       0 likes

    • AP VA,

      I do not wish to pick on you personally too much. I understand that you are a young guy who has probably never been in a situation like this before. You made a mistake being out in front when the police were moving in, but you may well not have realized that. As an old fart who was there more than once when the police came in without warning with clubs whomping as well as tear gas and pepper spray flying, I learned early that one gets away from and as far as one can as fast as one can in such a situation.

      I also recognize that there were others who did not put themselves out in front who may not have heard of the order to disperse and were not engaging in any clearly wild behavior, but who got gassed and so on. I do have at least some sympathy for those in that situation.

      Regarding your own particular situation, you say that you were an invited guest. Did your host have a cell phone, and did s/he not inform you of the call to disperse? Even if you had somehow become separated from your host, or maybe you really did not have a specific host and just responded to some genearlized facebook message, did not somebody around you have a cell phone and pass the word that you all had been ordered to disperse? Again, from what I understand that order went out well before the time that you were caught in your unfortunate situation on the hill.

      And, just to re-emphasize, being an “an invited guest to JMU” (which is not where this event occurred) did not make it perfectly legal for you to be standing around after there had been a declaration that the gathering was an unlawful assembly. You were in violation of the law, and while it may not be entirely fair, the old line is that “ignorance of the law is no excuse.”

         0 likes

  30. Alex Sirney says:

    I’ve updated the story with some factual clarifications in bold from the press conference this afternoon. I haven’t employed the strikeout system used in the past because I’m trying to keep the article from becoming cumbersome to re-read.

    I’ll be posting more from the press conference this evening in a separate thread.

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  31. Emmy says:

    So the property owner called the police? Aren’t they the ones who told them they could have the party as long as they cleaned up?

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  32. Alex Sirney says:

    Emmy -

    My understanding is that the property owners were concerned about the way the party had grown to numbers far exceeding the normal 1,000 to 2,000 these have attracted in the past and escalated to the point where things were injuries and property damage were occurring.

    I’ve updated to include those numbers in the article – I just heard them today from Boshart.

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  33. Lowell Fulk says:

    I would like to commend the level of journalism shown here recently. This is truly the place to come for accurate and updated news.

       0 likes

  34. Dave Briggman says:

    Oh, crap. Professor Rosser, JGF, and I seem to be in agreement.

       0 likes

  35. eso says:

    Tim:
    “Reports from the students claim that the hpd did knock people down with shields and other tools, and, btw, when did getting gassed become a good option to a black eye? Seems like both are pretty rotten options.”

    Honestly, getting pushed down from a broad, flat shield that dissipates the force over a large area is nothing like getting clubbed with a night stick. I’m not saying it is pleasant, but it is not even in the same league.

    Secondly, OC causes temporary pain and eyes/nose/throat irritation. Most people recover completely within a few hours. Again, I’m not saying it’s pleasant, but it doesn’t cause most people injuries beyond discomfort persisting more than a couple hours.
    The application of a staff to the head will often result in a fractured skull, severe injury to brain or to the bones of the face. Not a “black eye”. In most jurisdictions, both the courts and the police training departments would consider a staff strike to the head the use of potentially deadly force.
    So yes, use of CS or OC or whatever is much lower on force continuum.
    Seriously, in that video, they were out in the middle of the street after the property owners had requested police help and the police had declared it an unlawful assembly. What do they think was going to happen?? If you want to have a party in your apartment that is one thing, to take over the street, block traffic, and be drinking and/or drunk in public that is completely another.

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  36. Alex Sirney says:

    eso -

    The tear gas employed was CS.

    Lowell -

    Thank you! We’re working hard on doing the best we can and appreciate the recognition!

       0 likes

  37. eso says:

    It would be interesting to know what percentage was JMU students. TV3 read a facebook comment where someone claimed 7,000 of them were _not_ JMU students. Keep in mind the police estimate for the total party was 8,000. I was on Port Road that afternoon. I saw JMU students walking and stumbling into the area. There is just no way 7/8 of them were _not_ JMU students. Outsiders may have well played a factor, but nowhere near the number some have claimed.

    But, OTOH, since JMU is around 20,000, well over half of JMU was not involved. It’s not fair to lump all college students into the category of hooligans. I have contempt for the core group of bad people who caused this problem, but there are plenty of decent college students also.

    [ side note to editors: The notify of responses by email option appears to be gone for posts ]

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  38. Alex Sirney says:

    eso -

    It’s very difficult to tell, and we may never know for sure. The only way to get any picture through official channels is to look at the arrest reports. Of the five people HPD has identified so far as connected to the disturbance and the five I have assumed are – their charges are Assault of Battery by Mob and Malicious Wounding by Mob – none of them came up on searches on JMU People.

    [We're looking into it, thanks for letting us know.]

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  39. Dave Briggman says:

    Except, Alex, arrest reports are not public documents, and not subject to FOIA.

       0 likes

    • Alex Sirney says:

      The information provided to local media would fall under section 2.2-3706 subsection C: “Information in the custody of law enforcement agencies relative to the identity of any individual, other than a juvenile, who is arrested and charged, and the status of the charge or arrest shall be released.”

      There’s also quite a volume of information FOIA allows them to release at their discretion under subsection F.

      The HPD is still working on compiling this information, but they’ve been forthcoming so far. I’ll keep you informed as we learn more. If my use of “arrest report” was misleading, I apologize – I meant “reports of arrests made over the weekend.”

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  40. eso says:

    As Alex said, there is some fine details about what happened that we will never know. This has happened twice now, 10 years apart. My bigger concern is how do we prevent this from happening again?

       0 likes

  41. JGFitzgerald says:

    Briggman,

    It’s probably just a statistical anomaly.

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  42. Dave Briggman says:

    Alex…ARREST REPORTS are not available under FOIA. They’re considered investigatory in nature.

    What you’d get under §2.2-3706 is a name, charge, and whether the person was jailed…generally nothing more than a blotter entry.

       0 likes

    • Alex Sirney says:

      That’s precisely what I did get, and I clarified my terminology to you in my response above.

      Using the names and the charges the HPD told reporters were connected to the incident, and my own extrapolation that any charge with “by mob” in it was probably also connected, I used the JMU People search to find out if any of the 10 were students. None were.

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  43. Dave Briggman says:

    As we’re so often told by libs: “words are important”.

    What I can’t understand is why we didn’t know the identity and status of all who were arrested at yesterday’s press conference. There’s absolutely no excuse for not having released this information already.

       0 likes

    • Alex Sirney says:

      No one had been arrested at yesterday’s press conference as of 3 pm, when I left.

      I haven’t posted names and statuses because I’m waiting until we have a full picture of which charges stemmed from the civil disturbance. I’m sure the HPD would be happy to provide you the same information I have, though – it’s eight pages of all arrests made over the weekend in the city.

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  44. Dave Briggman says:

    That was likely my last comment on here…it’s to cumbersome to converse when every comment I make is tossed into moderation.

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  45. MB Green says:

    Now I know that I 1) went to college when dinosaurs walked the earth 2) went to EMU, but isn’t there some kind of Code of Conduct that students have to abide by? When I went to EMU I had to sign a Statement of Commitment that governed by behavior on and OFF campus.

    I’m personally glad that most JMU students are contained in the Port Rd area. It makes them easier to avoid. When I decided to move from the county into the city one of my deciding factors was where was the place in relation to JMU. We ex’d many places off our list simply because it was too close to JMU. I currently live about two blocks from EMU, and I’ve never had my peace and quiet disturbed by marauding students.

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  46. Jane says:

    What happened to the student flown to UVa? Some reports say the student was in critical condition. Was this as a result of the police or the general chaos?

       0 likes

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