Editor's Note: An incident at Bates College two evenings ago has sparked national controversy and outrage. According to reports, students at Bates was having a "throwback" end-of-the-year party. Because it was so hot, everyone moved outside onto Bates property. According to students at the scene, the crowed was calm, and relaxed, just enjoying the nice weather. At one point, an ambulance was held up for a few seconds while it was trying to go through a crowd of students. At that point the police showed up and the drama began. According to student reports, multiple students were sent to emergency room to have various injuries treated. We had a correspondent on the ground who filed a report. Check out his dispatch below. If you have exclusive pictures or video of the incident, feel free to send them confidentially to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Smith Hall, a freshman dormitory next to the football field on campus, was having a "throwback" party where the seniors go back to the rooms they lived in freshman year to bond with the freshman that live there now. The party got huge inside, so everyone decided to move it outside right in front of the dorm. My buddy and I arrived late because we were at dinner and the party was already outside. I would say there were probably 200 to 250 kids outside of Smith talking, having fun, and just enjoying the weather. I want to emphasize that the party did not start outside, and that there were no kegs or large amounts of alcohol present. I would say maybe half of the kids had beers in their hands, but that was it. There was also no music, band, or DJ of any kind playing and making the scene loud or "unruly." This went on for probably around 30 minutes, and security was present, but they never made it evident to the entire crowd that they wanted people to disperse or leave. There was no fighting, yelling, or ruckus and on the whole it was very calm. At no point before the police arrived did it become out of control.
After around 30 minutes of the party being outside, a girl became sick because she had too much to drink. Bates EMS called an ambulance to have her taken to the hospital for treatment. This one case was not indicative of the other 249 students outside. When the ambulance tried to leave, instead of turning around and leaving the road the way it came, they wanted to drive through the crowd, assumably to get to the hospital faster. This is where the trouble began: To get the crowd to move, the ambulance had to use their sirens and honk multiple times before there was a clear path. The ambulance cleared the crowd in 30 seconds and was on its way. This is just an assumption, but I think this is about the time the Bates Security decided that they could not control the crowd.
Just a few minutes later two police cruisers showed up to Smith Hall. They got on their loudspeaker and told everyone to leave. At that time I would say a majority of the students started to disperse. Then the first student was arrested. I don't know the details of his arrest, I just turned around and saw him with two officers on top of him. [Ed note: According to the Sun Journal and the student arrested, "I was just repeatedly, repeatedly beaten with a nightstick on my leg, my back, my face. I got hit ... (and) scratched all over my face. My nose was bleeding everywhere, and it was just completely unnecessary," [the student] said. "I was on the ground, my face on the curb, and they were just hitting me nonstop with nightsticks. It was completely unnecessary and ridiculous."]
All of a sudden they arrested another student, for a reason I am not sure of. This is when most of the commotion started. A crowd formed to watch the proceedings. At this time more cops were showing up by the minute. Many students took out cell phones to either take pictures or videos of the proceedings. I know for a fact that my other friend was arrested because he had his phone out and was taping the cops on top of two guys. Sometime during this 10-minute span, a cop was injured trying to tackle a student. Eye witnesses report the injury was the cop's own fault and he basically fell. The student being tackled was later charged with aggravated assault for the officer breaking his leg trying to tackle him to arrest him for "failure to disperse."
Later I was informed by a police officer that an an ATB went out that an officer was down. The police officer told me that this is what triggered the mass arrival of over 20 police cruisers on campus. The spectacle lasted for around an hour and another eight students were arrested. I saw my buddy being brought down by four cops and repeatedly punched and kicked while being arrested. He was not resisting, but simply kept asking the officers what he did wrong. The officers kept telling kids to leave and most did.
As we were leaving, the officer recognized my friend as someone he had already told to leave and decided to arrest him. Jimmy adhered and did everything the officer said and did not struggle at all. He was brought down to the ground by two officers. Oliver and I watched as Jimmy was put into a car, and then left to ask other officers how to retrieve him from jail. I heard he ended up spending the night in jail with ankles and wrists chained together. After this happened, it was around 20 more minutes before everything calmed down and the police officers started to leave.