St. Paddy’s Day stu­dent mob swamps neigh­bour­hood

The Niagara Falls Review - - OPINION - Glafleche@post­media.ca

GRANT LAFLECHE

POST­MEDIA NET­WORK

It was like some­thing about of a hor­ror movie.

Jen Loney was try­ing to drive home from the Pen Cen­tre Fri­day af­ter­noon when her car was swamped by a un­ruly mob. They pounded on the car. Threw snow­balls it. They shouted ob­scen­i­ties at her, and would not al­low her to drive on her way.

“It was dis­gust­ing,” said Loney. “I had my baby in the back, so I had to keep my cool. We were com­pletely sur­rounded. They were bang­ing on the car, shout­ing ‘F-you, you stupid, b--ch.’ I am still not sleep­ing right be­cause I still have vi­sions of what hap­pened.”

Loney was one of many peo­ple who called po­lice Fri­day af­ter­noon af­ter a St. Pa­trick’s Day street party on Ja­cob­son Av­enue near the mall got out of con­trol.

When Ni­a­gara Re­gional Po­lice of­fi­cers ar­rived to clear the street, par­ty­go­ers threw beer cans and snow­balls at them.

The area is home to sev­eral Brock Univer­sity stu­dent res­i­dences. Po­lice es­ti­mate some 3,500 young peo­ple were part of the street and lawn par­ties that fea­tured stu­dents par­ty­ing on rooftops of houses.

Po­lice said the area was cleared about 7:30 p.m. No charges have been laid, al­though po­lice are still in­ves­ti­gat­ing.

Loney said she didn’t know the party was hap­pen­ing when she left the mall. When she was blocked by the throng of peo­ple, she couldn’t turn around be­cause there was a line of traffic be­hind her.

The rev­ellers had com­pletely blocked Ja­cob­son Av­enue and re­fused to let cars pass, she said.

“They were spit­ting on my car,” she said. “I have never seen any­thing like it. My hus­band is a Brock alumni. His par­ents are alumni. This is re­ally aw­ful. The stu­dents, the po­lice and Brock need to take a stand be­cause this shouldn’t hap­pen in this com­mu­nity.”

She said the mob only let her car inch its away through when some women no­ticed Loney had a baby in the car. Even then, she said, she could only drive at about 4 km/h and peo­ple were still bang­ing on her car and throw­ing things.

“I had to lay on my horn but they just would not get out of the way,” she said.

She said sev­eral other cars were be­hind her. She called po­lice, and dis­patch­ers said of­fi­cers were on their way, but the street was so packed, no one could get through.

Brock Univer­sity is­sued a state­ment Satur­day con­demn­ing the street par­ties.

“The univer­sity is aware of the sit­u­a­tion and is fully co-op­er­at­ing with the in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the NRPS,” the state­ment said.

“In ad­di­tion, a group of stu­dent and staff vol­un­teers went to the area Satur­day morn­ing to as­sist clean­ing up garbage left on the street from the un­for­tu­nate ac­tion of some stu­dents.”

The univer­sity said that lead­ing up to St. Pa­trick’s Day, staff can­vassed the area to re­mind stu­dents about be­ing “re­spon­si­ble cit­i­zens, and to hand out garbage bags and tags, re­spon­si­ble drink­ing guides, taxi num­bers and other in­for­ma­tion.”

In the state­ment, the di­rec­tor of stu­dent life and com­mu­ni­ca­tions for Brock Univer­sity Stu­dent’s Union, Cur­tis Gadula, apol­o­gized to the com­mu­nity on be­half of the stu­dent body.

BOB TYMCZYSZYN/POST­MEDIA NET­WORK

Sev­eral hun­dred Brock Univer­sity stu­dents take over parts of Ja­cob­son Av­enue Fri­day as they cel­e­brate St. Pa­trick's Day in St. Catharines.

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