$2K of $20K reward fund distributed by police
Although $20,000 was set aside as a reward for any information regarding December’s civil disturbances in Cedar Village, only about $2,000 of the fund has been shelled out to informants, according to East Lansing police.
Following December’s Big Ten championship, thousands of students flocked to Cedar Village, chanting and burning furniture and nearly anything in their path.
By the time the disturbance was dispersed at about 3 a.m. on Dec. 8, police responded to 57 fires and arrested 15 people, 12 of whom were MSU students.
DTN Vice President Colin Cronin previously told The State News that the revelries in Cedar Village caused between $5,000 and $10,000 in property damage.
Investigators continued to make arrests and solicit information about potential suspects in the following weeks.
The pretrial hearings for many of those arrested are scheduled for early February.
East Lansing police released photos later in December, asking anyone with information regarding the identities of those who were photographed during the disturbance.
Half of the money was fronted by MSU, and the other half coming out of East Lansing police funding.
After announcing their intention to disburse reward money to anyone with information leading to a suspect’s arrest, East Lansing police Capt. Jeff Murphy said not many have taken the bait.
“Not much has happened with this one,” Murphy said. “No sooner had we gotten (the reward money) when MSU went closed for Christmas break. There wasn’t a whole lot of interest in paying people for tips for valuable information.”
The pretrial hearings for many of those arrested are scheduled for early February, and will continue on a rolling basis throughout the spring.
If they are convicted, Murphy said informants likely will be rewarded further if their information led to the individual’s arrest.
So far, all of the informants have remained anonymous.
Cash rewards range between $100 and $500, depending on the situation and the helpfulness in leading to arrests.
“In theory, paying for the tip gets people arrested,” Murphy said. “We want to hold as many people accountable for their actions as possible.”
But some students feel the situation could have been handled differently by law enforcement.
Human biology sophomore Brad Hassberger said police could have used social media better to narrow down suspects, rather than asking students to turn against one another.
“There’s videos and pictures all over Facebook, Twitter and Instagram,” Hassberger said. “I don’t think they needed to offer money to find people.
“If they really wanted to, I think they could have done it themselves (and) put some of that money towards figuring out who these people are instead of asking other people to rat fellow students out.”
Elementary education senior Nicole Yuhas said she felt the informant system placed an unnecessary burden on students who previously might not have felt the need to become involved.
“I don’t think it’s fair at all,” Yuhas said. “That’s just kind of silly. They didn’t do their job and now they want us to do their job for them.”