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: