It wasn’t a full moon, and there didn’t seem to be anything unusual in the water – so how to explain hundreds of Western Washington students turning into holy terrors Saturday night in Bellingham?
“I grew up here,” the Bellingham cop tells Seattle Weekly this morning. “I’ve been on the force for 40 years, and I can tell you that I’ve never seen anything like this kind of violence before. We have never had a whole crowd like this turn on the police the way they did. It’s very disheartening.”
In a nutshell, here’s what went down:
Everyone was partying like no tomorrow at a 16-unit apartment complex on Jersey Street. There must of have been close of 200 of them, police say, when cops, on party patrol, arrived to disperse the unruly revelers.
With the party broken up, the rebellious crowd moved down the street to Laurel Park, a block from campus. On the way, they were joined by others, who poured out of homes and apartments in the Sehome neighborhood. “It’s like an ant hill there, with all the students who live in that area,” says Lt. Sucee.
More officers arrived on the and ordered the beer- and liquor-fueled the crowd, now estimated at 500 strong, to break it up. That’s when rocks and bottles and cinder blocks and ceramic dinner plates and patio furniture began to fly.
Several police, who used pepper spray to quell the riot, were injured by broken glass shrapnel. Private property, a Whatcom County transit bus and six police cars were damaged, one with its windshield bashed in, another with so many dents that it’s no longer in service, notes Sucee.
Three people were arrested, none of them WWU students. Many more arrests could have been made, “but we didn’t have the manpower,” says Sucee.
Bellingham police, with the assistance of a forensic video officer – who specializes in analyzing digital and cell phone pictures, and the like – are on the hunt today for those who fired projectiles at police.
“We’re getting a lot of student input, too. There will be more arrests, I’m sure,” Sucee predicts.