Police Disperse Unruly Crowd Of Students At UTC Library

5 Arrested After Students Text Message To Meet For "Party"

Friday, April 24, 2009

UTC Police and Chattanooga City Police responded to a call Thursday evening about 11 p.m. of a large, disorderly crowd at the Lupton Library.

Upon arrival, police found a crowd of about 1,000 students congregating outside the library, according to a statement from UTC.

A report by a city police officer called it "a large riot on the campus of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga."

According to the UTC statement, the crowd began storming the library doors, chanting "Let us in!" "Take the library" and other statements as they attempted to enter the library. UTC Police told the crowd to disperse. Instead members of the crowd began to climb up on the library and jump into the crowd. Some threw items at the police officers on site.

Police sprayed mace above the heads of students to disperse the crowd.

The Library was closed for a little over an hour to allow the crowd to disperse and police regained control of the site.

Chattanooga City Police made five arrests and issued one misdemeanor citation.

Among those arrested were Chad Nicholas Rush, 18, of Oakland, Tn., and Patrick Heath Wright, 18, of Chattanooga - both UTC students.

Rush was charged with disorderly conduct and assault. Wright was charged with disorderly conduct.

Rush was being bonded out of jail late Friday morning. His bond was at $500. Wright was given an OR bond.

They are due to appear in General Sessions Court next Thursday.

Police said UTC students Aaron Schoolfield and Marques Donald were also charged with disorderly conduct.

City Police said when they arrived they found UTC Police surrounded by a large crowd "throwing items at them and cursing them and refusing to leave the area after being asked to several times."

They said the crowd was asked to leave after becoming "hostile" to officers.

Officers said as they were escorting the crowd out of the area that Rush was cursing police, saying, "f--- you." They said Rush threw a water bottle at police. He was then pepper sprayed and arrested.

City Police said Wright was also yelling at police and refusing to leave. Police said when officers were trying to arrest Bush that Wright tried to shield him and made it difficult to get him into custody.

According to reports to the UTC Police, the event was planned by students using text messages and social networks telling students to be at the UTC Lupton Library at 11 p.m. for a party. Other campuses have reported such incidents, it was stated.

Chuck Cantrell, assistant vice chancellor for university relations, said, "I know that some of the students believe this was a harmless gathering, but when you try to force your way into a building and jump off buildings, then you've gone beyond harmless fun. We are the middle of exam week, and there were students inside the library trying to study and conduct research, and this crowd disrupted the operation of the library.

"We greatly appreciate the assistance of the Chattanooga Police and the restraint demonstrated by all of the law enforcement officials who responded."

UTC Police and the Office of Student Development continue to investigate the situation, officials said.

At least 15 videos of the riot are already up on the YouTube website:

4:25 Pepper Spray at crowd (3:40)








0:50 Students talking about it after the fact.




0:38 City Police



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