Sunday, May 05, 2002

Clifton parties turn into 'miniriot'

Police use gas, beanbags to disperse revelers

By Marie McCain
and Kristina Goetz

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS — Police used gas and beanbag ammunition to disperse an unruly crowd of as many as 500 people late Saturday night when a series of beer-soaked Cinco de Mayo parties along a block of Stratford Avenue got “way out of control.”

A Cincinnati police officer and rescue worker clear debris from Stratford Avevue between Warner and McMillan.
(Brandi Stafford photos)
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Dominic DeRose 19, an Ohio State student from Columbus, shows reporters where he was apparently shot by a police beanbag or rubber bullet.
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A shoeless man pleads with police to allow him on Stratford Avenue so he can go home. Police werenąt allowing anyone on Stratford who didnąt live there.
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People outside a house on Stratford yell at police as they walk past.
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Police tell a group they are not allowed on Stratford Avenue unless they live there.
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        University of Cincinnati students and other partiers set fire to furniture in the street, broke car windows and pummeled police with beer bottles as officers tried to break up the block party.

        UC students, who make up many of the area's residents, had apparently been promoting a “Cinco de Stratford” night, posting fliers all week advertising a variety of celebrations of the Mexican holiday gaining popularity in the U.S.

        The incident began when one person lit a fire in the street and others gathered to feed it. Partiers threw beer on the fire to keep it going, police said.

        “That's why I came down here,” said Dominic DeRose, 19 of Columbus. The Ohio State University sophomore came to Cincinnati to visit a friend for the party.

        “I knew it was going to be this bad,” he said.

        Armed with beanbag guns, officers marched in riot gear and ordered students to head back into their apartments. Police said an unidentified man hit by beanbag ammunition was at University Hospital being treated for an injury to his chin.

        As many as 35 officers arrived shortly after 9:30 p.m. to find a crowd of several hundred revelers, some jumping over and throwing bottles at a burning recliner. One group picked up a parked car and threw it against another.

        Amanda Decker, 19, of the 2300 block of Stratford Ave., was arrested for disorderly conduct while intoxicated after she tried to take a picture despite police orders to leave.

        The air up and down the street was redolent with the smell of beer at 2:30 a.m., as police worked to contain rowdy revelers who screamed up and down the block.

        By 3 a.m., the street was clear but officers remained.

        Reflecting on what they had just done, one student was heard saying:

        “The worst part of it is: None of the beer was even Mexican.”


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