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Riot Follows Michigan NCAA Win : Michigan Fans' 5-Hour Rampage Causes Damage, Injuries

April 04, 1989|From Times Wire Services

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Thousands of fans went on a wild, five-hour rampage in the streets early today to celebrate Michigan's first NCAA basketball championship, leading to eight arrests, widespread property damage and several injuries.

It took riot-equipped State Police, Washtenaw County deputies, city police and security officers from the University of Michigan until about 4 a.m. to control the estimated 5,000 rowdy fans who wildly celebrated Michigan's 80-79 overtime win over Seton Hall.

"The area's been cleared," Lt. Craig Roderick said in the predawn hours today. "There's damage all over the place. We have not documented it, but it is extensive to both public and private property."

He said eight of the rowdy fans were arrested and an undetermined number of others were injured from flying beer and liquor bottles as well as rocks.

During the spontaneous celebration, an awning on the China Gate restaurant was pulled down, a main traffic light was destroyed and a Detroit television station van had its windows smashed and tires slashed.

At least one car was overturned, numerous windows were smashed, street signs were torn down and the pavement was littered with glass from broken beer bottles.

One Ann Arbor police officer was rushed from the scene shortly after the melee began and was successfully treated for chest pains, Roderick said.

Shortly after Rumeal Robinson made two free throws to guarantee Michigan its first national basketball title, thousands of Michigan fans stormed out of restaurants, bars and dorms to begin their celebration.

Police responded quickly, blocking off a central part of the campus to vehicular traffic. Within an hour, campus and city police called for reinforcements from State Police and the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Department.

"It's a mess," Roderick said as the size and activity of the crowd swelled. For the next couple of hours, it was pretty much a standoff between police and the fans.

Fireworks filled the sky, at times, and some of the fans stripped off their clothes while perched on rooftops along South University Road on campus.

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