Michigan State University student riot

Michigan State University student riot

The Michigan State University student riot is an event that took place on and around the campus of Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan on the night of March 27, 1999. Following a loss by MSU's basketball team to Duke University in the NCAA Final Four, approximately 5,000 (10,000 by early newspaper reports) students and non-students gathered throughout the outside of campus.

The foreshadowing of this riot, was a civil disturbance that took place a week before when the MSU Spartan basketball won a spot in the Final Four tournament. At this event, the police watched what seemed to be a peaceful bonfire in Cedar Village for hours. Eventually, bottles were thrown at the police. The police remained peaceful, possibly made a few arrests, and planned for a possible huge riot for the following basketball game with Duke. The local newspaper announced that there would be a hundred police cars on duty that night from around the state in East Lansing.

It would seem that the riot began on March 27, 1999, in Cedar Village. The students began by burning couches and jumping over the main bonfire in Cedar Village (although there were many small fires in the area). Some women began to expose their breasts as the crowd chanted for them to show themselves. It was similar to the crowd's chant of, "F&^% Duke!" Eventually, the first car was burned in the fire. It was a grey Chevy Nova. The police would march in riot gear and release canisters of tear gas and then march out. The crowd would move on to another location and by the end of the night 8 cars had been turned over.

Besides that damage, the students attempted to turn over the ambulance that came to help a burn victim of the bonfire. In addition, store window fronts were bashed in, including the Taco Bell window where a student made himself a taco.

Approximately 130 students were convicted for involvement in the March 27th MSU riot. Of those, over 50 were MSU students. Misdemeanants were fined a minimum of over $2,000 in restitution and felons were charged double that in restitution. Controversy swept over how much more harshly than normal that the rioters' were punished for their offenses.

News of this riot reached national media. 20/20 was interested in the story, along with HBO Real Sports. Other universities soon followed suit in having riots of large proportion.

Other Notable Civil Disturbances

Though the March 27 1999, incident was the most serious riot to happen in East Lansing, it was by no means the first or last incidence of civil disturbance:

*Grand River Avenue antiwar riots of 1972.Fact|date=February 2007
*Cedar Fest riots of the late 1980s/early 1990s. The most recent of which on April 5th/6th, 2008 (see below).
*September 6, 1997: 500 partygoers in the Gunson Street neighborhood confronted police, throwing bottles and damaging police vehicles. Fact|date=February 2007
*May 1, 1998: An estimated 3000 students protesting the ban on alcohol at Munn Field tailgate parties resulted in police firing tear gas at the crowd. Fact|date=February 2007(UTC)*March 31, 2003: Michigan State basketball fans overturned four cars, tipped vending machines and set fires in trash bins in East Lansing, Mich., after the Spartans lost in the N.C.A.A. tournament. Police officers in riot gear dispersed the crowd using tear gas. Seven people were arrested on charges of disorderly conduct, six of them Michigan State students, police said.The damage occurred that night near the university's administration building, where about 2,000 people had gathered.They tied up traffic earlier in the evening on Grand River Avenue, which divides the campus and downtown, said Lt. Kevin Daley of the East Lansing Police Department. The disturbances caused about $40,000 in damage to university property.The violence followed Michigan State's 85-76 loss to Texas in the South Regional final in San Antonio.
*April 2, 2005: An estimated 2,000 students and non-students took to the streets immediately following the men's basketball team's loss to UNC in the NCAA Final Four, causing an estimated $8,275 in damage to the city of East Lansing and costing area law enforcement an estimated $190,389 in expenses. The April 2 event was marked by accusations of police abuse and mismanagement. Though large segments of the disturbance were documented on video, no specific acts of violence were seen until after tear gas was launched at the students. The City Council formed a commission to review the events. The commission declined to assess blame to the students and police by a 5-4 vote [http://www.statenews.com/add_on/special_sections/elrc/final_report_12-1.pdf Michigan State News Final Report] .
*April 6, 2008: In what was described as a renewal of the Cedar Fest festival of the 1970s and 1980's, approximately 3,000 to 4,000 students gathered around the Cedar Village Apartment Complex. Initially the crowd was peaceful, and police chose to observe the crowd and step in only to arrest or ticket those who were behaving illegally. As the evening wore on the crowd began to behave violently, throwing beer bottles at officers, tearing up street signs, setting dumpster fires and chanting "We want tear gas." After being hit with bottles, cans, and various other debris at an increasing rate for well over an hour the Police ordered the crowd to disperse using loudspeakers. Those who did not were first subject to a combination of 24 smoke grenades, 20 flashbang grenades, and 20 stingball grenades. These were not successful in dispersing the crowd, so 13 rounds of teargas were fired which eventually dispersed the crowd. There were 52 arrests made, 28 of which were of MSU students. The disturbance was sufficiently large to be reported on CNN. The significance of this riot was that students were responsible for supplying the evidence as many of them were able to report with their camera phones and home video equipment with the support of the popular internet website Youtube. [http://youtube.com/watch?v=xBEgjqylroE A Video highlighting the event]


External links

* [http://www.theguardsman.com/s990426/uwire03.shtml The State News (U-WIRE): East Lansing Bans Some Michigan State Students from Town After Riots]
* [http://www.lsj.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050504/NEWS06/505040352 April 2, 2005 riot]
* [http://www.lansingstatejournal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080406/NEWS01/804060584&referrer=FRONTPAGECAROUSEL April 2, 2005 riot]

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