Celebration of Terps victory over Duke ends with 15 arrests

Small fires, minor damage reported in College Park after basketball game

February 14, 2005|By Molly Knight | Molly Knight,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK - More than 3,000 fans took to the streets of College Park early yesterday - starting small fires, pushing over street signs and taunting police after University of Maryland's win over Duke in men's basketball late Saturday.

Police said about 15 arrests were made on charges including disorderly conduct and assault. No serious injuries were reported, but several students sustained bruises and scrapes, police said.

"The students were celebrating on U.S. 1, which is not a safe place to be," said Maj. Cathy Atwell, spokeswoman for University of Maryland Police. "We had to make an effort to try and move them north toward Fraternity Row."

To control the crowd and prevent a repeat of the riots after the games against Duke in 2001 and 2002, university police joined forces with Prince George's County police, Maryland State Police and Maryland Park Police on horseback.

Closing off U.S. 1 from the north gate of campus to Guilford Road for more than an hour, police used pepper spray to steer students onto the sidewalks.

Allie Hall, 19-year-old sophomore from California, said she was standing with a group of her sorority sisters when police began moving toward them. In the confusion, Hall said she fell on the cement and felt her face burning from the pepper spray.

"I never participate in riots," Hall said. "For me to get attacked - I was in shock."

Cpl. Kimberly Brown, spokeswoman for Prince George's County police, said the pepper spray was necessary to keep the students from flooding the street.

"It was deployed for safety interests so they did not hurt themselves or others," Brown said. "The students were excited, their adrenaline was pumping and they had been drinking. We were just trying to get them to disperse."

Police reported no major damage to campus property, but there was minor damage to commercial property on U.S. 1. No stores were looted during the commotion, which subsided about 1:30 a.m., police said.

Sun staff writer Justin Fenton contributed to this article.

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