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Police Break Up Wisconsin Riot

Tear gas is used to stop bottle-throwing and looting at annual party. At least 16 are arrested.

November 04, 2002|From Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. — Police used tear gas and pepper spray early Sunday to quell a disturbance that escalated into bottle-throwing and looting during a Halloween party attended by about 65,000 people.

More than 100 police helped break up the riot, and eight suffered minor injuries, mainly from thrown objects, authorities said. At least 16 people were arrested.

"This is the first time I can remember that we ever had police officers put on protective equipment, and I've been here since 1980," Madison Police Sgt. Patrick Grady said.

The party is held each year on State Street, the city's main thoroughfare.

Police said the rampage began about 1:30 a.m., possibly after some people began fighting with bottles. When police tried to help some injured people, others threw bottles at them.

"I'm sure alcohol had a big part of this," Grady said.

People threw bottles at apartment windows, and some residents retaliated with bottles, injuring at least two people, police said.

For several hours, the crowd smashed windows in nine businesses and looted two within a two-block area before police regained control. Lt. Cameron McLay said those arrested were charged with battery and looting.

The huge crowd early Sunday included many out-of-towners.

State Street was still closed late Sunday morning.

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