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Students share accounts of roundups and party busts near campus

Laura McCrystal | Friday, September 3, 2010

 

Senior Krissy Kemnetz was alone with her 20-year-old boyfriend in his apartment Saturday when police came to knock on the door.
 
The male student opened the door of his apartment, told police he was with only his girlfriend and offered to turn down his music, Kemnetz, 21, said. The police asked to see both his and Kemnetz’s identification, gave him a breathalyzer test, put him in handcuffs and searched the apartment. 
 
Kemnetz said Police officers denied the student the opportunity to put on a pair of shoes before taking him to jail, where she said he stayed for 12 hours before she was able to post his bail for release.
 
“[The police] were just being difficult, you know, and rough and rude,” she said. “And they were kind of taunting … They read his ID and they said ‘Oh, he’s a month away, too bad.'”
 
Kemnetz said she tried to talk to the police officers and requested that they give her boyfriend a citation rather than take him into custody. 
 
“I was trying to be as cooperative as possible,” she said. “But the fact that they made him spend the night in jail just seems over the top.”
 
Her boyfriend declined to comment.
 
This case is one of around 70 arrests related to off-campus alcohol consumption since the weekend of Aug. 21. 
 
“It’s the one thing that everyone’s talking about,” senior Jack Winnike said. “You walk into classes and you overhear people talking about the police and everyone is like, ‘Oh what are you going to do this weekend? I don’t know.'” 
 
Winnike, 21, was present when police arrested eight students for minor consuming and two students for furnishing alcohol to minors at a Washington Street home early Tuesday morning. 
 
Some of Winnike’s friends were arrested at the Washington Street party, which consisted of about 30 students. According to the police report, officers arrived at the home in reference to a large party. One officer told the students he could hear their music from the street, but Winnike said no music was playing when the police arrived.   
 
“One of the things that always pops into my mind is people say the law is the law and the police have to enforce it regardless,” he said. “That whole concept is really just absurd because if you got a ticket for jay walking, you would be irate. You expect to be able to drive a 37 in a 35 without being pulled over … To say that they just have to uphold the law and that’s it and they can’t use their judgment in terms of what’s best for public safety, that’s just not accurate.”
 
Senior Liam Rhatigan was also present at the Washington Street party Monday night, and said seven or eight police cars arrived at the scene. He said when they asked students for their identification, he said, they told 21 year olds, like Rhatigan, to leave.
 
“And then they just told us to walk home, which doesn’t make sense because one of the reasons they said for bringing the kids who weren’t 21 to jail was that they weren’t allowed to walk around unsafe neighborhoods,” he said.
 
Rhatigan said he felt that every student at the party was respectful to the police officers, but the incident has made him, as an of-age, off-campus student, particularly cautious.
 
“As a house member and a potential keg buyer, I think I would be very wary of having under 21 year olds at my house and drinking from my drinks, especially during football season, when in the past police have been most active,” he said.
 
Senior Michael Browder, who witnessed an arrest of one student outside an off-campus party the weekend before classes started, and said she was arrested despite seeming cooperative. 
 
“There was no scruffle,” he said. “There was nothing. She just kind of took it.” 
 
When he tried to approach police to offer to turn down the music or send people inside the house, he said he was interrupted and sent away. 
 
Browder said in light of recent events like these, he would advise underclassmen to stay on campus.
“It’s way too risky to go off campus during the current circumstances,” he said. 
 
Luke Stavole, also a senior, said South Bend Police broke up a party at his off-campus house the weekend before classes began. When police arrived based on a noise complaint, he said most of the estimated 40 people at the house were 21.
 
When officers asked which students were underage and no one responded, Stavole said the officer said: “We’ll see about that,” Stavole said. The officer proceeded to check identifications.
 
When the police did come across an underage student, Stavole said one of them said: “Oh, we got a winner,” although that student had not been drinking. 
 
While police were there, they also received a call asking for backup in a pursuit chase, Stavole said, to which they responded that they were busy busting a party. 
 
There were two underage students at the party who had been drinking, Stavole said. They were handcuffed, taken to the police car, but released with citations. 
 
For Stavole, recent arrests mark a change from his previous three years at Notre Dame. He said he was present at parties during his freshman year when police simply asked students to disperse from the party. This year, he has not heard of that type of party bust. 
 
“It’s to a point where I don’t want my friends who are underage to come over my house,” he said. “The situation’s just very tense between police and students.”