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Students Riot After Football Game Loss

Dozens are arrested and four police officers are injured when up to 3,000 Minnesota State University fans rampage through neighborhood.

October 06, 2003|From Associated Press

MANKATO, Minn. — Police arrested dozens of students during an alcohol-fueled riot in the streets after Minnesota State University, Mankato lost its homecoming football game to North Dakota State University.

As many as 3,000 people were in a crowd that gathered Saturday night in a largely student residential area, some setting fire to trash bins, tearing down fences, smashing car windows and throwing rocks and bricks at officers, police said.

Two officers retreated after reaching the scene and waited for backup.

"When police backed off, the students were so excited because they thought they had defeated the cops," said Brian Boothe, a senior.

Police in riot gear then used eye and skin irritants to disperse the crowd, and they arrested 45 people. Four officers were injured by objects thrown at them, said Jim Franklin, the city's public safety director.

The area became so dangerous that it took an armored vehicle to pick up a student who reportedly wasn't breathing, Franklin said. Police received reports of students assaulting fellow students. About a dozen people were treated for injuries at a nearby hospital.

Franklin blamed alcohol for the problems.

Witnesses said the riot started when about 400 students attending a post-game party became violent and started throwing empty beer bottles around 11:30 p.m. As the crowd grew, students damaged vehicles and filled the street.

About 160 police officers were called in before the crowd was finally dispersed about 4:30 a.m. Sunday, Franklin said.

Mankato, which lost the game 20-9, is winless six games into the season.

The university's president, Richard Davenport, said students identified in videotapes taken at the scene would face disciplinary action.

"I found the events of last night deeply disturbing," he said. "To the extent that our students were involved with others, we are extremely disappointed."

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