BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4) – Boulder city officials say a party of as many as 2,000 people on Pearl Street Mall late Friday night caused property damage to local businesses. Police officers first noticed a crowd of about 200 people at around 9:30 p.m.
That quadrupled by about 11 p.m., city officials say. Police report seeing people hanging from light poles and trees and then climbing to rooftops and damaging storefronts, windows and outdoor heating posts.
Police started ordering people to leave the area, many of whom they say were under the influence and unmasked. Partygoers started leaving, but others stayed in an effort to celebrate Pearl Street Mall Crawl and capture it on social media. City officials note businesses have been opposed to the event due to safety and property damage concerns.
Police drones helped document the crowd in order for investigators to review and identify anyone acting illegally.
Both Boulder Police and the University of Colorado Boulder Police Departments say they are working together, but acknowledge not everyone involved may be a student or associated with the university.
“We understand the desire to go out and have a good time on a beautiful holiday weekend,” Deputy Police Chief Stephen Redfearn said. “The police department supports safe, responsible gatherings. What occurred on Pearl Street last night, however, posed significant danger to participants, resulted in unacceptable damage to property and required extensive police resources to address.”
A Boulder restaurant called Japango illustrated the damage they sustained and wrote, in part, “We completely understand the urge to gather and revel in tradition after the last year and a half. We along with many of our staff are proud CU alumni, we love this town and we love the events that make it feel alive. But violence and destruction in the name of getting ‘back to normal’ just isn’t ok. We struggled with addressing this or moving on, but going into 2 more nights of festivities, we are discouraged by the lack of accountability or even acknowledgment that this behavior isn’t tolerated.”
Earlier this week, students told CBS4’s Alan Gionet they were confident things would be different compared to last year when even with many restrictions in place, students blew through those restrictions and got together anyway.