While early police preparation allowed for a controlled situation in downtown Amherst during the “Blarney Blowout” celebration this past weekend, the expected crowds instead made their way to several off-campus locations Saturday, officials said.
According to Amherst Police Chief Scott Livingstone, officers met with downtown business owners prior to the start of the weekend to keep partying levels there to a relative minimum during the “Blarney Blowout” event, which is an annual bar promotion celebration co-sponsored by Stackers Pub and McMurphy’s Uptown Tavern. But, according to a press release from the APD, the crowds expected in downtown Amherst instead moved to several off-campus house parties, with the largest crowd gathering at the Townehouse Apartments on Meadow Street.
The crowd there reached up to 2,000 individuals, according to police estimates. After police reportedly observed multiple fights and instances of destructive behavior, including the smashing and burning of furniture from within the crowd, the situation was deemed “riotous” and they stepped in to disperse the crowd. The 12 available APD officers were aided by a contingent of University of Massachusetts and state police.
According to the press release, police reported multiple instances of partygoers throwing bottles – some of which reportedly struck others – leading to police intervention for medical assistance.
Wearing protective gear, the police force moved forward into the crowd and was met with partygoers responding by throwing full bottles and cans of beer, officials said. One member of the APD was reportedly struck and injured by a thrown bottle, but she did not require hospitalization.
According to the press release, police, despite limited resources, arrested six UMass students at the Townehouses. All of the UMass students arrested will be reported to the UMass Dean of Students Office for interdisciplinary action.
Patrick Conlin, 23, of Amherst was arrested on charges of disorderly conduct, failure to disperse from a riot and attempting to start a fire.
Michael Roy Carmasine, 22, of Yardley, Pa., was arrested on charges of disorderly conduct and being a minor in possession of alcohol.
Terence Meehan, 20, of Worcester, was arrested on a charge of failure to disperse from a riot, and 21-year-old Shane Niles of Hyde Park was arrested on charges of failure to disperse from a riot, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
Christopher McGoldrick, 20, of Meriden, Conn., and 20-year-old Trevor Morency of Chelmsford, were arrested on charges of disorderly conduct, failure to disperse from a riot and assault with a dangerous weapon after police reportedly observed the two throwing bottles at responding officers. Morency was additionally charged with being a minor in possession of alcohol.
In addition, police identified a 27-year-old male who reportedly fled the scene and will be summonsed on charges of disorderly conduct, failure to disperse from a riot and attempting to start a fire.
According to Livingstone, the situation in North Amherst was new for the APD. He said there is a need now for increased police presence during this particular weekend in the future.
While police dealt with the situation in the Townehouse Apartments, other officers were busy fielding multiple noise and disturbance calls from the surrounding town area.
According to the release, a party involving several hundred individuals at 55 South Prospect St. – where people were reportedly seen throwing bottles and standing on the roof – was dispersed by police who then charged the resident with a nuisance house violation.
Police responded to several other calls elsewhere this past weekend.
On Friday night, police responded to reports of a fight at 28 South Whitney St. According to police, a man who was reportedly involved in a dispute with his girlfriend began fighting others present at a party when they attempted to intervene. When the fight ended up outside, the man reportedly attempted to fight off the responding police officer. According police, the officer involved sustained only minor injuries and 19-year-old Maxwell Paul Starkin of Worcester was arrested on charges of disorderly conduct, assault and battery on an officer and resisting arrest.
Early Saturday morning, police responded to a noise complaint at 60 Railroad St. Upon arrival, police reportedly saw 100 guests leaving the house and spilling onto neighboring yards. Police issued citations to those involved for noise and nuisance house violations.
Two hours later, police reportedly pulled over a vehicle for speeding on East Pleasant Street. The responding officers arrested 22-year-old Amherst resident Richard Gallo on charges of operating under the influence during the motor vehicle stop.
After the events that occurred at the Townehouse Apartments Saturday, police then responded to a noise complaint at 6:49 p.m. at Brandywine Apartments. Upon arrival, police reported hearing loud music and voices coming from the apartment. According to police, the apartment had a history of noise complaints for residents and on top of issued citations, police also made a summons to arrest.
Later into Saturday evening, police arrested 20-year-old Brian Eori of Nashua, N.H., and 19-year-old Jeremy Dodge of Beverly on charges of being minors in possession of alcohol. While the men were arrested separately, both men were witnessed walking and reportedly carrying open containers of alcohol, police said.
Late Sunday evening, a standard motor vehicle stop led to the arrest of 29-year-old Amherst resident Michael Drake. Police reportedly discovered a number of drugs within Drake’s car and arrested him on charges of operating a motor vehicle with drugs, drug possession and an equipment violation.
The final arrest of the weekend occurred early Monday morning when police stopped the vehicle of East Brunswick, N.J., resident Craig Pollack. According to police, Pollack was arrested on charges of breaking and entering and criminal harassment. Pollack had reportedly broken in to the home of his ex-girlfriend and proceeded to follow her before police intervened.
Mitchell Scuzzarella can be reached at [email protected]