It’s always exciting when your school’s team wins against a rival school. In my opinion, this always calls for a celebration. After the Sooners beat the Cowboys, my friends and I went out for ice cream. But we have never joined in a celebration that was so big that police officers were called in, 28 people were arrested, and five ended up in the hospital.
When the University of Maryland’s men’s basketball team beat Duke’s team on March 5, 2010, students gathered together and celebrated. They were very excited after defeated their rival, and “sang and cheered over their team’s success.”
However, police officers were not pleased. Officers showed up in full riot gear, with the goal of clearing the street. According to the Washington Post, many eyewitnesses reported that the officers were being overly dramatic, “banging clubs against their riot shields as they slowly moved forward.”
The officers were very adamant about breaking up the celebration. Officers pushed revelers, struck them with clubs, and used pepper spray.
“It was like a war zone or something,” said Kerry Kramer, a freshman at University of Maryland. “You just would hear like the shots going off, and you would just like start running because you didn’t want to get hit.”
Police officers claim they were just trying to keep everyone safe and that their actions were necessary against the “large, unruly and destructive” group of students. They say students were trying to flip a bus, throwing trashcans, and setting trees on fire.
The University of Maryland is cooperating with the police force and admits there were “several incidents representing poor judgment on the part of those participating in the postgame celebration.” The school might also consider suspending or expelling students for rioting, even if they have not been convicted in a criminal court.
“The postgame behavior of some students is inconsistent with the high standards – in academics, attitudes and in behaviors – that we have set at the University of Maryland College Park,” said Millree Williams, a school spokesman. “We will not let the poor behavior of a few taint the good behavior of many.”
Videos of the incident are currently being reviewed to determine if either revelers or police officers acted inappropriately. Hopefully these videos will also be taken into consideration before anyone is expelled.