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Police disperse Cedar Village crowd; few incidents reported

April 4, 2009

Looking back at the Cedar Village celebrations following MSU’s victory over Connecticut in the Final Four game on Saturday. MSU advances to the National Championship game to play against North Carolina on Monday.

Photo by Staff Reports | The State News

Police dispersed a crowd near the Cedar Village area at 2 a.m. Sunday morning, about five hours after fans swarmed Cedar Street following the MSU men’s basketball team’s victory Saturday night in Detroit.

East Lansing police Chief Tom Wibert said the crowd on Cedar Street remained about 2,000 people-strong for several hours after about 10 p.m. The crowd was down to about 1,000 by 1:45 a.m. Sunday morning.

“Overall, it was a good night,” Wibert said. “Everyone was just having fun.”

Police made about 60 arrests, according to an E.L.P.D. press release issued Sunday morning. Offenses included throwing objects, indecent exposure, attempted arson and assault.

The arrests began at about 9 p.m., when police put on helmets and other protective gear.

Officers were practicing “friendly enforcement,” arresting only the revelers who were throwing objects, exposing themselves or otherwise breaking the law, and agreeing to take pictures with others.

“Looking at the celebration, things look good,” Wibert said at about 10:30 p.m. “As long as it’s non-violent, we’re doing good.”

Wibert said about 30 to 40 undercover officers were stationed throughout the crowd. E.L.P.D. was assisted by neighboring departments, as more than 230 officers handled duties throughout the night.

Carol Koenig, president of ACLU of Lansing, said she heard no reports of wrongdoings by police as of about 10 p.m.

“The ACLU is here to look out for civil liberties and protect the U.S. Constitution,” she said. “We hope we don’t have any problems, and there haven’t been any problems yet.”

Brian Husler, a business freshman, said he thought because MSU won, the crowd in Cedar Village was rowdy, but not angry.

“I thought there would be tear gas and I’m really surprised they haven’t deployed it already,” he said. “I think the police are handling it very well.”

Killian Lynam, a business sophomore, said he was in middle of the crowd on Cedar Street for about 15 minutes.

“It was the best time of my life,” he said. “Then, (the police) shined a light on us and looked like they were about to use the loudspeakers, so I got out of there.”

Laura Anderson, general management senior, said she hoped students would respond to MSU head coach Tom Izzo’s calling for students to celebrate with “class.”

“I cried my eyes out when we won. It just makes me so happy. This is wonderful,” Anderson said. “I just wish we could take this goodness and take Izzo’s message into consideration. It’s amazing to be a part of the team; it would be even more special if we could do it with class.”

Smith Atwood, a kinesiology junior, said the crowd in Cedar Village appeared similar in size to the one that gathered in April 2008 for Cedar Fest, when police made 56 arrests and used 13 rounds of tear gas to disperse the crowd.

“It’s about the same as last year, but it looks a lot safer this year,” Atwood said. “I haven’t seen many bottles being thrown or anything.”

Another crowd assembled near Albert and M.A.C. avenues and reached a peak of about 300 people at about 9:20 p.m. Fans chanted “M-S-U!” and “Go Green, Go White!”, but few arrests were made.

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