Campus, News

‘Snowbrawl’ draws hundreds, BUPD take student into custody

Students participate in the Esplanade ‘Snowbrawl Fight part two’ Saturday afternoon on the Esplanade after Winter Storm Nemo dumped two feet of snow Friday night. PHOTO BY TAYLOR HARTZ/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF
Students participate in the Esplanade ‘Snowbrawl Fight part two’ Saturday afternoon on the Esplanade after Winter Storm Nemo dumped two feet of snow Friday night. PHOTO BY TAYLOR HARTZ/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

Snowball fights are all fun and games until someone loses an eye, or until someone hits a police officer with a snowball, as one student found out at Friday night’s “Snowbrawl.”

Boston University Police Department officers took a student into custody Friday night for hitting an officer in the face with a snowball during the massive snowball fight on the Esplanade, said BUPD Captain Robert Molloy.

“He will be charged with disorderly conduct, assaulting an officer and resisting arrest,” Molloy said.

Molloy, who declined to identify the student, said the officer involved reported the student put up some resistance before eventually complying and was taken into custody and brought back to the station. The officer then collected his information and released him.

A large group of students gathered at the intersection of Bay State Road and Silber Way late Friday night and proceeded to walk along Storrow Drive where plow trucks were clearing snow, Molloy said.

“They found people were then coming down Storrow Drive from the Esplanade climbing back up and climbing over fences,” he said.

Molloy said officers were dispatched to the scene to instruct students to clear the area, when a student intentionally struck an officer with a snowball.

The student will be summonsed to Roxbury District Court sometime in the near future, Molloy said, where the court will decide if there are enough facts and evidence to have a complaint made against him.

A video posted to YouTube, titled “Boston University PD Officer Tasers Student at Snowball Fight,” shows footage of the student being handcuffed by a BUPD officer. Bystanders gathered around the officer and the student as he was held on the ground and then taken away.

Molloy said the allegation that a BUPD officer used a taser gun on a student is false.

“We never have carried tasers,” he said. “The officer did not use a taser. He was flashing his flashlight to attract the attention of another officer.”

The video had almost 5,500 views as of Sunday evening.

Peter Campbell, a School of Management junior who witnessed the student being escorted out, said he thought the police’s response was an overreaction to the situation.

“He held him face-down in the snow for a good while until the other cop came, and they hand cuffed him and dragged him off,” Campbell said in an email. “It looked like he could barely walk when they took him away — he was really limp when he was laying in the snow under the cop’s knee.”

Katie O’Neill, a College of Arts and Sciences junior, said her friends started the event with no intention of several hundred people showing up.

“He [my friend] had just meant to invite people that we knew on Facebook and everyone invited all of their friends and soon there were 6,000 people on Facebook invited,” she said.

The snowball fight, referred to as “Snowbrawl” by attendees, drew significant media attention, and videos of the gathering were posted on BostInno and YouTube.

Michael Mojahed, a School of Management sophomore, said it was good to see BU students enjoying the snow in Boston.

“It really shows unity and it ended up being a really fun experience for everyone,” he said in an email. “The only negative part of the whole event was that the police escorted one person [out] … The police are doing their job of making sure we are all safe, but at the same time this was definitely an example of them overusing their power.”

Gabriella Bastidas, a CAS freshman, said she enjoyed the snowball fight as she hails from southern Spain, where there is rarely snow.

“My friend swears there were at least 500 [participants], but the blizzard and continuously having to dodge snowballs didn’t allow me to accurately estimate,” she said in an email. “I had expected something more organized where students would split into two teams and begin the war, but instead several smaller snowball fights broke out in the area.”

College of Communication junior Jason Kashdan said the snowball fight was a great exhibition of youthful spirit.

“I thought the [snowball fight] was a great idea for students to enjoy the snow in a fun and harmless way,” he said. “It was incredible to see the number of students who showed up to participate in the snowball fight and I think everyone was excited to just have a good time and play in the snow.”

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