Police Arrest 46 Amherst Students After Party Turns Violent
Police arrested 46 college students on Saturday night after a pre-St. Patrick's Day party in Massachusetts turned violent. The Blarney Blowout, which is traditionally held the Saturday before the University of Massachusetts at Amherst's spring break, ended with thousands of students rioting in the streets. At least four officers and even more students were injured by flying debris.
The Blarney Blowout isn't so much one party as a green, drunken party-Megazord, with festivities held on several lawns in the area. The bash started at 10 a.m. as thousands of students descended on North Amherst, and within two hours the party got out of hand. Revelers blocked traffic and began snowball fights, which apparently escalated into throwing more dangerous projectiles like beer cans and destroying cars and light poles. According to Reuters:
The 43 arrests by Saturday evening included 18 for failure to disperse and inciting a riot and three for assault with a deadly weapon. Other charges included disorderly conduct, liquor law violations, breaking and entering, and assault and battery on an officer.
Three more students were arrested by the university's public safety department. By 8:00 p.m., nearly twelve hours after the Blarney Blowout began, officers were still responding to reports of extremely drunk individuals and fighting. Bus service in the neighborhood was also suspended due to the difficulties of managing so many drunk people. The university plans to examine each arrest and reminded students in a statement that punishment could include expulsion or suspension.
Said Amherst's police chief to the Boston Globe, "The behavior is out of control, the damage, drunkenness, and disorderly activity in North Amherst is close to the worst that we’ve ever seen. We’re extremely concerned for the safety of the community."