Parties escalate into violence

Parties+escalate+into+violence

“I’ve never seen the college students in this town act as insane,” Haven Gauger, SDSU sophomore said. “This goes beyond all capacities of good taste.”

        Good taste may have been hard to find Friday and Saturday night in Brookings as parties erupted into a riot situation at times.

        Over the two days, 54 people were arrested for criminal activity in connection with the incidents; 10 of those were held in the Brookings County Detention Center of felony charges until Monday. Seven of those arraigned on felony charges were released on their personal recognizance, two were issued $2,000 cash bonds, and one was issued a $1,000 cash bond. (See arrest story, page 2.)

        According to Brookings Police Chief Dennis Falken, the remaining were charged with misdemeanor offenses and released. They are scheduled to appear in court Oct. 29.

Both nights contained instances of overturned cars and numerous arrests, but Saturday night proved to be more devastating in terms of destruction and criminal activity.

        Dean of Student Affairs Mike Reger said he observed both nights of incidents and was not alarmed.

        “Friday night I wasn’t surprised,” Reger said, referring to the actions. “It was a cooperative crowd and nobody was hostile.”

        On Saturday, Reger said he walked through the crowd on Ninth Avenue later in the evening and said he was not concerned for his safety.

        “Clearly people knew who I was,” Reger said. “The crowd was never one I felt that put my life in danger.”

        The Brookings police department first received a call of a fire at the 700 block of Ninth Avenue at 8:45 p.m. Falken said both the police and fire departments were dispatched and the fire was extinguished and the people dispersed toward campus.

        At 9:05 p.m. Falken said another fire was reported at the intersection of Eighth Street and 12th Avenue where police and fire departments again responded. Police personnel moved the group toward campus and extinguished the fire. One fireman received a dislocated shoulder from being struck by an object from behind.

        Once on campus, the group, estimated at about 500, marched down Ninth Street in front of Harding Hall in the direction of Larson Commons.

         From the police report, people were knocking down parking lights and signs. While making arrests on campus, University Police Department Officer Milo Apland was kicked in the back. He was treated and released from the Brookings Hospital.

        According to eyewitness accounts, the group then traveled west on Eighth Street and turned south on 14th Avenue. The group then turned west on Seventh Street and traveled to 12th Avenue where they turned and came out on Sixth Street.

        While walking down Sixth Street the crowd blocked traffic in the middle of the street. Near Medary Avenue, the group split with some traveling on alleys and back streets toward downtown and others returning to the site of the first fire in the 700 block of Ninth Avenue.

        Falken said another fire was reported on Ninth Avenue, but the decision was made not to attempt to disperse the crowd until reinforcement officers from other areas arrived or unless peoples’ safety was threatened.

        Officers from the Game, Fish and Parks Department, the sheriff’s departments in Deuel, Hamlin, Lake, Kingsbury and Moody counties and the South Dakota Highway Patrol were called it.

        At about 11:20 p.m., the police report said a call was received that a fence was being torn down to add to the fire. Both police and fire departments responded.

        At 11:27 p.m., it was reported a KSFY-TV car was being overturned and the cameraman was on the ground. The report said the officers quickly moved in and dispersed the crowd.

        The fire on the 700 block of Ninth Avenue attracted about 1,000 people.

        On Friday, what started as house parties around the area of Seventh Street and Ninth Avenue ended up in the streets.

        At 11:41 p.m., a car was reported turned over near the Seventh Street and Ninth Avenue area and some people were injured. Police, fire trucks and an ambulance were dispatched.

        From eyewitness accounts, the car was overturned and people began jumping on top of it. It then was set afire. From accounts, police dispersed the people from the area and the car was extinguished.

        According to police reports, a second call came in at 1:01 a.m. Saturday citing a fire at the same intersection.

        The fire was started from leaves, Falken said, and a display of corn stalks taken from a nearby church. Falken said a dog house was also observed being thrown in the fire.

        The fire and police departments were dispatched a second time. Falken said that crowd dispersed and the fire was extinguished.