On Feb. 1, 2019, a gathering of hundreds on Morgantown’s Spruce street was dispersed by police.
“We had winter sports activities that turned into criminal behavior and violence,” said Morgantown Police Chief Ed Preston. “They started attacking city workers as they plowed the streets.”
Preston said the crowd, which he estimated to be made up of 750 to 900 people, threw items including beer bottles and rocks.
The Morgantown Police Department, WVU Police Department and the Monongalia County Sheriff’s Department were all on scene.
Warnings were given to the crowd, and some crowd members lit a fire. When a long-range acoustic device was used against the crowd, many chanted back at it.
Preston said smoke grenades were then deployed.
Large portions of the crowd left through the smoke clouds, and several students danced in the street before leaving.
Three officers deployed pepper ball munitions, according to the Morgantown press release. The officers fired at the buildings from where projectiles were being thrown, and they targeted the building above the people so the powder would fall on those below.
While pepper balls were used,Preston had told the DA in an interview that no chemical munitions were employed to disperse the crowd.
News sources across the country published stories about the Spruce Street gathering, which police had declared a riot. Articles appeared in The Washington Post, CBS News, Fox News and more.
You can see some of the DA's coverage below:
A gathering of hundreds on Morgantown’s Spruce street was dispersed by police on Friday, a s…
Eleven individuals have been served arrest warrants over their involvement in the Spruce Str…
The DA obtained WVU Police Department body camera footage from the Feb. 1 Spruce Street gath…
Before the smoke grenades on Spruce Street. pic.twitter.com/RI76GiRUiK— The Daily Athenaeum (@DailyAthenaeum) February 2, 2019
A snowboarder showing more than his moves on Spruce Street. pic.twitter.com/HK9uGVOdXJ— The Daily Athenaeum (@DailyAthenaeum) February 2, 2019
Another view of police dispersing the crowds on Spruce Street. pic.twitter.com/Uj5inUpJpV— The Daily Athenaeum (@DailyAthenaeum) February 2, 2019
When a man in Friday's Spruce Street crowd shouted something profane, Morgantown Police Chief Ed Preston responded, "No, thank you. I prefer girls, and you're ugly." pic.twitter.com/r11UNqPKO7— The Daily Athenaeum (@DailyAthenaeum) February 4, 2019
What began as a day of snowboarding, sledding and drinking was declared a riot by police after people threw bottles at city employees looking to plow the street. Here’s a highlights video of what happened on Spruce Street Friday. pic.twitter.com/xCYCToJQZv— The Daily Athenaeum (@DailyAthenaeum) February 4, 2019
Snow day on Spruce Street. pic.twitter.com/0K7218zyuF— The Daily Athenaeum (@DailyAthenaeum) February 1, 2019
Smoke and snow on Spruce Street. The crowd on Friday disperses as police deploy smoke grenades. pic.twitter.com/NrxqpcS9Rg— The Daily Athenaeum (@DailyAthenaeum) February 2, 2019