The celebration on the University of Dayton campus is becoming more volatile with each of its men’s basketball team’s win in tournament play, Dayton police say, resulting in record numbers of injuries to officers and arrests.
Two Dayton police officers were assaulted and many more were struck with bottles and other objects as fans celebrated the the Flyers’ victory over Stanford late Thursday and into Friday morning. Officer Kyle Watts was treated and released from an area hospital after he was punched in the face twice and injured his knee when he fell, Chief Richard Biehl of the Dayton Police Department said during a press conference Friday afternoon.
Another officer, Sgt. Matthew Beavers, was punched in the mouth as he attempted to handcuff a fan, Logan Heiing, 20, who also grabbed the officer’s riot baton, police said. Beavers then struck Heiing in the face “enough to allow several more officers to gain control of him and place him in handcuffs,” according to a report. Beavers and Heiing suffered minor injuries, Biehl said.
Heiing was charged with felony assault on an officer, felony rioting, disorderly conduct and taken to the Montgomery County Jail. It’s unclear if he was a UD student. The other fan who assaulted Watts is also facing felony charges, Biehl said.
Three University of Dayton police officers were also injured and checked out at area hospitals. They have been ordered off-duty to recover from their injuries, school officials said.
“It certainly concerns me. Having police officers injured, that’s a big deal for me,” Biehl said. “I think you can look to… what the environment looked like after the street was cleared… all of the alcohol containers. It was unbelievable. You can’t have individuals consuming large quantities of alcohol and have a safe event. It’s just not possible.”
Moments after the game, thousands of fans flocked to Kiefaber Street in the UD Ghetto, drinking alcohol and throwing bottles and cans across the roadway and into the crowd. Officers from multiple jurisdictions, including the city of Dayton, UD, Kettering, Oakwood, Riverside, Five Rivers MetroParks, Huber Heights and the Ohio State Highway Patrol wearing riot were on campus before the game ended. They used containment tactics to push crowds off the street to allow access for emergency vehicles, officials said.
Officers arrested instigators, charging 27 people with felonious assault, aggravated rioting, disorderly conduct, assault and resisting arrest. Thirteen of those people were UD students, Biehl said.
Senior student Emma Vichill said she is a resident assistant on the campus, and was glad she could count on police to control the crowds. She said the crowd was “a little bit scary” because it grew so large and violent, and she was concerned about the number of people arrested with “messed up faces.”
On Friday, area law enforcement agencies coordinated on a plan in anticipation of tonight’s game, Biehl said, declining to release details.
By the numbers:
Responding jurisdictions: 8
Fan injuries: 7
Officers injured: 5
Couch fires: 1