Tear gas used, 43 arrests made

Updated: April 4, 2005, 12:50 PM ET
Associated Press

EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Forty-three people were arrested last weekend after Michigan State's loss in the men's Final Four, police said in a revised report Monday.

Those arrested face mostly disorderly conduct charges. Police had listed 60 arrests in a preliminary report early Sunday.

Things were considerably calmer after the women's team Sunday night reached the title game, overcoming a 15-point deficit to beat Tennessee 68-64 in Indianapolis.

Police used tear gas to break up crowds after Saturday's game. The disturbances lasted for several hours into early Sunday and resulted in at least five assaults on officers, police said. The crowds were tamer than in earlier years when the Spartans made similar NCAA tournament runs.

"If you look at where we'd been and where we are [now], we have made considerable progress," Michigan State president Lou Anna Simon said after the men's 87-71 loss to North Carolina on Saturday night. "There are a lot of things that didn't happen."

Simon returned to East Lansing a few hours after watching the men's loss in St. Louis, then headed to Indianapolis.

Police said they planned to have a large presence ready in East Lansing in case trouble broke out after that game, but they said were no disturbances.

"The game was over at 11:20, and we were going home at midnight," Lt. Kim Johnson said.

Thousands of fans took to the streets after Saturday night's game. Police reported one serious injury -- a possible broken arm by someone in the celebration -- and several minor injuries.

The main activity was downtown and near a student housing complex bordering the campus. Police fired several canisters of tear gas into both areas to scatter clusters of people that at times exceeded 1,000 people. Police said they broadcast warnings before using the gas, but several celebrants said they did not hear the warnings and felt they were targeted unnecessarily.

Many of them stopped to complain at the East Lansing Police Department on their way home early Sunday.

"It's not pleasant, but it is effective in moving crowds," Chief Louis Muhn said. "We felt it was justified and effective."

Three officers were struck with bottles. One was hit with ball bearing launched by a rubber band, and another was smacked in the face shield of a riot helmet with a chunk of asphalt.

Police reported 15 fires, all relatively minor. Most were set in trash bins or in the middle of streets. At least one couch was set on fire.


Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press

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