If y'all need any other full-text newspaper articles about anything, just let me know...Information wants to be free!!
Thank you Lexis-Nexis.
SECTION: NEWS; Pg. 01D
LENGTH: 599 words
HEADLINE: HALLOWEEN DISTURBANCE IN ATHENS;
POLICE WADE IN AFTER RIOTS, FIRES ERUPT AT ANNUAL PARTY
BYLINE: Mary Beth Lane and Jim Phillips, THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
DATELINE: ATHENS, OHIO
Street bonfires set by rioters in this college town celebrating Halloween weekend sent mounted police surging into a student neighborhood early yesterday, lobbing smoke grenades to control the mob.
Athens Police Chief Rick Mayer called this year's Halloween celebration a "horror of an event" that strained his officers.
"This event was far and away the worst event to date," Mayer said in a statement. "It stretched and broke the ability of the department to respond to the needs of the public."
Police arrested or ticketed nearly 100 people, including 66 arrests by Athens officers. Ohio University police made 23 arrests and seven citations that included four OU students.
The costumed crowd at the street party near the OU campus was "considerably larger" than in prior years, probably because of the warm weather, Mayer said. No crowd estimates were available for this year's event, but estimates in previous years topped 25,000.
The Athens tradition of celebrating Halloween with a huge block party began spontaneously in 1974 and has grown ever since. More than 300 people were arrested in 1999. Last year there were 96 arrests.
This year's celebration featured enough serious incidents to dismay police.
The worst of it peaked yesterday in the wee hours.
Around 5 a.m., people in the Mill-Stewart-Palmer student neighborhood set couches on fire, hurled bottles at police and firefighters, and rolled over a car. Athens police in riot gear, some on horseback and accompanied by OU police, used smoke grenades to drive the mob back into their homes, said some students at the scene.
The disturbance began with people burning empty beer boxes in the street, then escalated as others began carting furniture outside.
"They just kept bringing (couches) out, and then they brought mattresses out," said Nick Gerber, an OU junior from Mansfield. "It was a huge fire."
The disturbance was over by 6 a.m. But two hours later, officers were called to the same neighborhood to chase away people who were trying to set another bonfire in the street.
The university is looking into the disturbance.
"We take a dim view of that behavior, and we're trying to determine if any OU students were involved," spokesman Jack Jeffery said.
If rioters are identified as students, they could face criminal charges as well as penalties by the OU Judiciaries, the university court, ranging from a reprimand to expulsion, he said.
Both campus and Athens police were kept busy by other incidents early yesterday..
Campus police are investigating a reported sexual assault in a residence hall and a car theft in which two students were dragged as they tried to stop the thieves from driving away, Jeffery said. Two nonstudents were charged in the car theft; the two students were not injured.
Also, a fight on Columbus Road on the city's north side resulted in two men being stabbed, and a police officer being assaulted, Mayer said. Police said there were at least three assailants and that suspects were apprehended in neighboring Nelsonville.
One of the stabbing victims had his femoral artery severed and might lose his leg, and another was stabbed multiple times in the chest and suffered a collapsed lung, Mayer said.
No names or charges were released yesterday, and it wasn't clear whether the stabbings were related to the Halloween bash.
A spokesman at O'Bleness Memorial Hospital in Athens said the stabbing victims had been transferred to Columbus for treatment but declined to elaborate, citing patient confidentiality rules.
GRAPHIC: Photo, MAP, (1) ROBERT CAPLIN ASSOCIATED PRESS,, Athens Police Capt. Dave Burnett looks over the crowds at the city's annual, Halloween block party on Court Street. Police arrested or ticketed almost 100, people during the weekend.,, (2) Map
LOAD-DATE: November 4, 2003