Community rises above rioters

Photo: KGMI/Jake Parrish, Western Front

Community rises above rioters

KGMI News Reporting
By Karen Taylor, Mike Curtiss

BELLINGHAM, Wash. РBellingham Police say more arrests are possible for the Saturday night riot in the near Western Washington University’s campus.

Police Chief Cliff Cook says he is proud that responding officers used non-lethal force to disperse the violent crowd.

Play Chief Cliff Cook on response

He says two of the three arrested seemed to be the ones inciting the violence that escalated in Laurel Park.

Play Chief Cliff Cook on arrests

He says the department has learned that they need to update their equipment and put more officers through crowd-control training.

Cook says it will take some time to complete their investigation and decide on more arrests.

Local Attorney Jeffrey Lustick says social media is playing a key role into the investigation of the riot.

He says many people have exposed themselves to possible summons or arrests by posting photos and videos of the riot on social media.

Play Jeffery Lustick on social media

He believes this is the first time Bellingham has seen social media and technology have a major influence on a current event in the community.

There has been an outpouring of community support toward the police for their response to the riot.

Lieutenant Rick Sucee says one man from the neighborhood handed him a thank you card with a $500 check inside.

Play Rick Sucee on community support

They’ve also received dozens of thank you notes and other messages from community members and WWU students.

Sucee says he printed out messages from students to show to the responding officers.

Several Western students spoke to KGMI and are not impressed by the vandalism, violence and lewd behavior they saw coming from their fellow peers.

Play student’s comments

Some students say Police may have been too quick to crack down on the block party that led to the riot.