Mark Hayward, New Hampshire Union Leader (Manchester, New Hampshire), December 15, 2009
Police charged six Hesser College students with felony riot early Tuesday morning when confronted with 50 screaming students while answering a call about an out-of-control fight, police said.
The incident took place during finals week, and the six students, three of them women, appeared in Manchester District Court Tuesday. Five face additional misdemeanors such as assault or resisting arrest. All were held on $1,000 cash or surety bail.
“This is an issue of people who were observed breaking the law. They were arrested and that’s what it is,” Mara said. “This has nothing to do with race. It has to do with breaking the law.”
According to police reports, one student punched an officer, another wrestled with an officer, 50 students were screaming, and many refused to clear the hallway when ordered to do so. One had a camera and demanded to see and photograph badge numbers.
Students said police pushed through the crowded hallway and called them animals. They threw students to the floor, striking and kicking them.
“These students were outraged. That’s your riot,” said a student from Randolph, Mass., who did not want his name printed. He said police acted as if they were responding to a bar fight, rather than a place of higher learning.
Mara [Police Chief David Mara] said Officer Daniel Doherty was punched in the face but will return to work. Officer Jake Tyler’s right finger was dislocated and his right hand left swollen; he will be out of work until the injury heals, Mara said.
According to police, the incident took place shortly after 1:30 a.m. Tuesday. College security was unable to control a fight in the dorm. Police reports say two Hesser College staff were injured; one security officer may have suffered a broken nose.
The six arrested were:
–Shamika Sanders, 23, of Hyde Park [Mass.], charged with riot and resisting arrest. Police allege she was yelling and taking photographs but would not go to her room when told to do so. She also photographed the injured security officer and blocked the room where he was being treated, reports say.
Sanders allegedly tried to swat away the hands of an officer who tried to arrest her. She was brought to the ground; police said three officers were required to put Sanders on her stomach and handcuff her.
–Dave Virgle, 22, of Randolph [Mass.], charged with riot, resisting arrest and two counts of simple assault on a police officer. Police allege that Virgle pushed Officer Doherty in the chest and punched him in the face while 50 students were yelling in the hallway.
Virgle allegedly cocked his right arm back as if he was going to punch Officer Matthew J. Winn, but was put on the ground and handcuffed after a minute-long struggle, according to police reports.
–Edouard Beaupin, 21, of Randolph [Mass.], for riot, felony resisting arrest and two charges of assault on a police officer.
Police allege Beaupin told Doherty not to arrest his cousin, and he pushed both Doherty and Officer Tyler. Both Beaupin and Tyler wrestled on the ground, and when other police intervened, Beaupin resisted attempts to be handcuffed. He was eventually pepper-sprayed.
–Momah Massaquoi, who turned 20 Monday, from Brockton [Mass.], charged with riot and resisting arrest. Police said he refused to leave the hallway when told to do so and refused to put his hands behind his back.
Police say when they put him on the ground, he struggled and was pepper-sprayed.
–Barbara Jean-Baptiste, 20, of Mattapan [Mass.], for riot and resisting arrest. Police allege she screamed at people and police after several others had been arrested. Police allege she refused to quiet down and leave the area when told to do so. She allegedly pulled her arm away when police walked her out of the building.
–Kinisha French, 23, of Mattapan [Mass.], charged with riot. Police said French allegedly refused to withdraw from a break room. She was arrested in a dorm room after she continued her loud behavior, police said.
All are scheduled for a Dec. 29 court hearing; all asked for public defenders.