Sunday, 28 Nov 2021

Boulder police: Large Pearl Street Mall crowd Friday caused significant property damage – The Denver Post

Boulder police say a large crowd of 1,000 to 2,000 partygoers that gathered late Friday night into early Saturday morning on the Pearl Street Mall caused significant property damage to businesses in the 1100 block of Pearl Street. Police are asking for any witnesses or people who experienced property damage to contact them.

In a news release Saturday, Boulder police said the crowd of roughly 200 people first began developing about 9:30 p.m. in the 1100 block of Pearl Street. The crowd had more than quadrupled by 11 p.m., with some participants hanging from light poles and trees, accessing rooftops and causing property damage to windows, tables, chairs and outdoor heating posts, the release said.

Boulder police, in collaboration with University of Colorado Boulder officers, responded with a large, uniformed presence. While dispersing the crowd was the primary objective, the police department was able to use drones both as a response and documentation tool. The release said investigators will be reviewing this footage, working to identify anyone recorded conducting illegal activity and will make targeted arrests.

Sarah Huntley, Boulder spokesperson, said she wasn’t aware of any arrests made as of Saturday.

In addition to any municipal sanctions, students identified and found to be in violation of the university’s student code of conduct, or involved in criminal activity, will face disciplinary consequences from the university. The release said while it’s likely that many of the participants were not associated with the university, the two law enforcement agencies have pledged Saturday to continue their practice of working collaboratively to ensure public safety.

Deputy Police Chief Stephen Redfearn said police recognize the strain this placed on local businesses, which he said are already feeling significant pressure due to the pandemic.

“We will be using our investigative resources to demonstrate that there are consequences to destruction of property and other unlawful behaviors,” Redfearn said.

Boulder police said Friday night’s crowd also raised public health concerns, as unmasked individuals were in very close proximity to one another at a time when hospital resources are severely constrained due to COVID-19.

There are some indications that at least some participants were drawn to the area in response to social media efforts to resurrect the Pearl Street Mall Crawl, a Halloween tradition that businesses and city officials have discouraged in recent years due to safety and property damage concerns, according to the release.

Most individuals, many of whom appeared to be under the influence, responded to verbal commands from police, the release said.

City officers, in partnership with University of Colorado Boulder police, were already conducting increased patrols associated with the Halloween weekend. Both agencies will continue to maintain a significant enforcement and patrol presence through to Monday morning. This includes providing both public and private sector security and staffing for a concert planned for Saturday night at the CU Events Center.

“We understand the desire to go out and have a good time on a beautiful holiday weekend,” Redfearn said in the release. “The police department supports safe, responsible gatherings. What occurred on Pearl Street last night, however, posed significant danger to participants, resulted in unacceptable damage to property and required extensive police resources to address.”

Anyone who witnessed or experienced property damage is asked to contact Boulder Police at 303-441-3333. To report a crime in progress, please call 911.

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