Report Blames Police, Students in Amherst ‘Barney Blowout’


A report commissioned after a violent St. Patrick's Day melee near UMass Amherst blames a “collective failure” for the drunken gathering, and recommends the Massachusetts town ban the event, that the university crack down on visitors and booze inside dorms, and that police act less aggressively, says the Boston Globe. The recommendations are detailed in a 65-page report by Edward Davis, former Boston police commissioner, who was hired by UMass to lead a review after an unruly gathering last March led to dozens of arrests and clashes with police.

The town said it would take steps to end the gathering, known as the Blarney Blowout. The report apportions blame all around, saying the event “was a collective failure by the town, the university, and the students.” It said police were unprepared, overwhelmed, and unnecessarily forceful. Some party-goers damaged property, fought one another, and threw filled beer cans and bottles, snowballs, and rocks at police, who shot an estimated 600 pepper-spray and sting balls to scatter the crowd. Fifty-eight were arrested, including 21 UMass Amherst students.

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