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ICYMI: Chaos on Broadstreet

October 21 started as a typical Friday night at Temple University. People were out on the campus, socializing and having fun. Until around 9:30 in the evening, nobody knew what kind of commotion was about to occur. All through the late night, chaos roamed about Broad Street, due to a large mob committing assaults and robberies.

“[The mob] met up at the movie theatre, the Pearl, which is now The AMC,” said Ed Woltemate, captain of the Temple University police department,” “And then, as a group, it was a group dynamic thing, just a mass amount of juveniles that were there came out. As a result of them amassing there at Broad and Oxford, several assaults and robberies did take place.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJrbToC7yao

Woltemate also said that there was a good deal of security on main campus. He said, “That night, we always have a strong police presence on campus. That particular night it happened so quick in a time officers were able to respond as a group and kind of effectively eliminate what was going on. It had already been taken place 20 to 25 minutes.”

Students, on the other hand, saw things from a different point of view. Sloan Sweeney, a freshman, saw glimpses of what happened that night through her apartment window. “I live on the eighth floor of The Edge, the building that overlooks where [the assaults] happened. It was about ten o’clock in the evening. I had been hearing screams from my window for about 15 minutes, but I didn’t pay it any attention because I hear lots of crazy stuff from outside my window.

The situation started to get more noticed as police started to arrive.  After a while, I got curious. I was on the phone with my dad. I looked out the window and saw a few crowds of people running all over the place. Two police men on horseback were chasing someone. There was also around 3 to 5 police cars and one eventually left with its lights flashing. I was almost going to go out for ice cream by myself earlier that night. I was really happy I didn’t,” Sweeney said.

After seeing the incident unfold, Sweeney felt a bit uneasy. “I was feeling a little afraid because it was right outside my house and I almost went out that night. I was like, ‘What if I went out? What would have happened to me?’ I mean, I was safe inside and I was fine.”

Sophomore Maddie Seidman just walked by the group, not knowing what was going on. “I went to my night lab. When I got out around 9:30, I saw lots of police cars near the Pearl, but I didn’t think anything of it. I went home to get ready to party.” She, too, was nervous about her wellbeing. “I was a little scared then because I was so close to it, and who knows if it could happen again,” Seidman stated.

Some of the students I spoke with almost got involved with the mob. One of those persons was Sam Trilling, a freshman.. “I nearly ran into a pack of at least 100 kids, ranging from middle to high school,  The group was a pretty evenly split between guys and girls. I wasn’t exactly scared, but instead just wanted to avoid any possible conflict. I turned around and went back to a safe distance.”

When the mob arrived at the front of Johnson and Hardwick, Sam saw the situation get worse. “As they headed onto the lawn in front of Johnson and Hardwick they would occasionally swarm someone who got too close, with some of the center assaulting the victim, and the rest mostly watching, cheering, or videotaping. They also had a tendency to fight each other.”

In the end, with the help of police officers, the situation was resolved. “They were eventually broken up by police officers relatively peacefully, Sam said. “I think that they wouldn’t seek out students purposely, but if one came within ten or so feet of the perimeter, they were bound to get sucked into the mob,” Trilling said. “I tend not to freak out or fret in those situations, but there was certainly a feeling from those I was with that it could easily turn aggressive.”

For most of the campus, many who were out that night more than likely were a little bit shaken up. There were a couple people who got hurt during the chaos, including a Temple University police officer. “One of our officers was injured that night, not seriously, but she was pulled off her bike,” Woltemate said.

Victoria Dubendorf is a first year Journalism major. She freelances for Her Campus.
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