Update: 'Large Civil Disturbance' Brings Arrests Near MSU Campus

December 08, 2013, 11:56 AM by  Alan Stamm

Sunday, 11:30 a.m. update: 

East Lansing authorities are “actively pursuing charges” against participants in a “large civil disturbance” that brought arrests after MSU won the Big Ten football championship, Lindsay VanHulle writes in the Lansing State Journal this morning.

Police in a statement said no one was injured and no tear gas or other chemical agents were used to disburse revelers. They did not release the number of arrests, nor say whether any of the arrested people were students or otherwise affiliated with the university.

VanHulle, a 2007 journalism graduate of Michigan State, tweets this from her personal account:

Sunday, 7 a.m. article:

Green and white and red are the colors of a Big Ten championship in Cedar Village and some other neighborhoods around MSU.

Once again, more than a few Sparties partied too hearty Saturday night and early Sunday after their team earned a Rose Bowl spot by beating Ohio State 34-24.

The torch was passed, literally, to a new generation of revelers who ventured where others had burned trash and furniture before. Police responded in riot gear, another part of the smoky tradition. (See video below.)

"Police early today retook control of River and Cedar streets, clearing them of more than 1,000 students who celebrated the Spartans’ football victory amid three large bonfires." according to a Lansing State Journal article by Scott Davis.

Just minutes before that, students had been feeding a bed mattress into the flames and other wood, including large branches from a nearby tree, causing flames to reach at least 20 feet high. Earlier, they had fed couches into the flames. . . .

By 3 a.m., Cedar Street also was cleared of students.

Police arrested nearly a dozen disruptive students during their intervention.. 

On-scene Detroit News coverage by Chad Livengood notes that "East Lansing has a history of erupting in large outdoor partying after big sporting events, including 1999, 2001 and 2005."

The State News student paper posted an unbylined report around 3 a.m. Sunday with nine photos and the all-caps headline Rioters Descend on Cedar Village; Fires, Chaos Ensue:

Dozens of riots and furniture burnings broke out across the city.

The largest incident occurred in Cedar Village, where hundreds swarmed the streets, burning furniture and even taking the shirts of their backs in the frigid weather, chanting “we smell roses.”

Rioters tore trees from the ground and added them to the blaze, the flames billowing at least seven feet high.

Police, clearly unprepared, were hardly present at the scene. Only a handful of outnumbered officers stood by with little to do but watch as neighborhood descended into chaos.

On River Street, hundreds of rioters tore trees from front lawns to fuel the blaze, the flames reaching at least 25 feet high as students chanted “go green, go white.”

By 12:30 a.m., hundreds of people flooded the streets and observed from their apartment balconies. Rioters shot firecrackers and broke bottles, dancing and chanting in a circle while others burned clothing on torches. . . .

A series of furniture fires also popped up on each street surrounding Cedar Village.

East Lansing police and fire responded to the scene, and riot officers from Michigan State Police also intervened.

Finance sophomore Jeff Nemesi said a police car attempted to drive through the crowd and was deterred when rioters began jumping on the car.

Davis of the Lansing newspaper quotes a text from MSU athletic director Mark Hollis, who was in Indianapolis for the game:

“People need to celebrate in a responsible way. I am proud of the performance of our football team. There is no place for destructive celebrations. I hope our fans and campus are safe.”

Comments condemning and defending the unrest appear under the campus paper's article.

"I love MSU! Awesome post-game fires everyone," says one anonymous post. "Can't wait for the Final Four!"

A critic using the screen name Disappointed Sparty rebukes over-zealous celebrants: "You all should be ashamed of yourselves and the damage you are causing to MSU's image."

A similar message is tweeted by the MSU Alumni Association president:


The State News' coverage includes this video:

Read more:  Lansing State Journal

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