Things got out of hand in Westdale Saturday afternoon as a crowd of Mac students, estimated by Hamilton Police to be at least 5,000 spilled out into Westdale streets, milling around on lawns, shouting climbing trees, and in one case at least, publicly urinating. A car was severely damaged when a group of young revelers flipped it on its roof. Hamilton Police and Emergency Measures personnel were called in to restore order in what was dubbed a “fake homecoming.” Many of the participants were wearing McMaster colours.
In a release Sunday Hamilton Police sayInvestigators are reviewing video and images from the event and are appealing for assistance in identifying those responsible for damaging and flipping over the white Mazda. At this time, police are looking for a white male, brown hair, wearing a blue baseball cap, burgundy and yellow rugby shirt, and khaki shorts. Additional images will be released as police identify more individuals.
During the incident, police arrested and charged two individuals for Liquor Licence Act Offences, as well as five individuals for Breach of the Peace/Cause Disturbance.
Police say glass bottles, cans and other objects were thrown at officers and one police vehicle was damaged as a result. There were no serious reported injuries, but several individuals were treated for injuries consistent with falling and other blunt forces as well as excessive alcohol consumption.
Hamilton police are asking anyone with video is asked to contact A/D/Sgt Jon Obravac at 905-546-3833. To provide information anonymously, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or submit anonymous tips online at www.crimestoppershamilton.com.
Mac President David Farrar denounced the incident, declaring, “McMaster students, and any others who chose to be part of the gathering of several thousand people in our community on Saturday, owe our neighbours, our emergency workers and every other student an apology for the disruptions, disrespect of property and disregard of those who live in our community. On their behalf, I apologize for this behaviour, particularly by those who caused damage and put anyone at risk. Such actions are completely unacceptable.”
The President blamed the anonymity provided by social media for enabling the organizers who acted “without any consideration for students or others who might be injured, or for the neighbourhoods that suffer the noise, garbage, property damage and disruptions. They have no regard for the police or emergency personnel who have to respond. And in this time of COVID, they chose to ignore the laws in place to prevent large gatherings and help keep our communities safe and healthy.”
Farrar promised to assist Hamilton Police in identifying those responsible.