Union students face criminal charges, school discipline over post-victory ruckus
SCHENECTADY Schenectady police arrested five Union College students when a celebratory gathering in the street turned rowdy following the Union ice hockey team’s NCAA championship late Saturday evening.
Department spokesman Lt. Mark McCracken said police were dispatched to block off a section of Union Avenue, where between 400 and 500 students were spilling into the roadway from a private residence on the edge of campus. At one point after police arrived at 20 Union Ave., some in the crowd began hurling unopened beer cans and glass bottles, striking one officer and damaging a cruiser.
“He was picking glass out of uniform for a little while,” McCracken said the officer, who wasn’t badly hurt.
Still, McCracken said the spectacle was unfortunate after such a momentous event. He said someone in the crowd even shot pepper spray during celebration, which went on until 1 a.m. Sunday.
“I can’t have people whipping beer bottles at my cops,” he said. “No part of that is a celebration.”
Schenectady police called in officers from six other police agencies to help control the crowd.
At one point, Mayor Gary McCarthy used a cruiser’s public address system to implore the crowd to celebrate safely. He later characterized the crowd as boisterous, but generally cooperative.
“All and all, it should not overshadow the historical victory coach [Rick] Bennett and his team had last night,” he said.
A Gazette photographer said most of the students were docile, but the crowd began to chant “police brutality” as several of their classmates were taken into custody.
Arrested was Mark M. Fisher, 18, who was charged with second-degree attempted assault, reckless endangerment, inciting to riot, obstructing governmental administration, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. He was sent to the Schenectady County Jail with no bail set, as the attempted assault charge is a felony. All other charges filed Saturday night were misdemeanors.
Also taken into custody was John B. Hathaway, 21, who was charged with inciting to riot, resisting arrest, harassment and disorderly conduct; Nicholas L. Hersey, 20, charged with obstructing governmental administration, resisting arrest, inciting to riot and disorderly conduct; Cameron E. Robertson, 19, charged with inciting to riot, menacing and disorderly conduct; and Broderick R. Shea, 20, charged with inciting to riot, menacing and disorderly conduct. All four were released on their own recognizance.
Shea’s face is a bloody mess in Gazette photos of him being arrested, and in his subsequent police mugshot, but no other injuries were reported in the boisterous celebration.
McCracken said officers were trying to be understanding with the celebration and dozens more arrests could have been made. He said even after the arrests, nobody seemed to want to leave the street.
“The Police Department was content to let them gather in the street,” he said. “The kids took it to another level.”
Union spokesman Phil Wadja said most students behaved appropriately. He acknowledged several did not.
“Unfortunately, a handful of fans chose to behave inappropriately,” he said in an e-mail. “As a result, they will now have to face the consequences for their actions.”