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State Patty's Day Crime Wrap-Up: Fewer Calls, More Arrests & One Taser

by on March 02, 2015 3:48 PM

It seems that State Patty’s Day may be be on its way out.

For the fifth year in a row, police received fewer total calls over the weekend than the year before.

According to figures provided by the State College police department, the number of calls over State Patty’s Day weekend has decreased by over 44 percent since 2011, a year that State College Police Chief Tom King says “was really just off the charts for us.”

The student-created, drinking-focused pseudo-holiday began in 2007, getting bigger and louder each year until pushback from community leaders started to curb participation over the last two years. This was the first year since 2012 that downtown bars were not paid to close for the day.

“When looking at the call volume this year and comparing it to other big event weekends that we all embrace like homecoming or football weekends, it’s about the same, maybe even a litter lower,” King says. “When you have a big event weekend, you’re just going to have a high call volume.”

State College and Penn State police received 367 calls for service, which is down somewhat from last year’s total of 393 calls. However, police made 88 arrests over the weekend, which is up slightly from last year’s total of 86 arrests. By comparison, police responded to nearly 700 calls and made over 300 arrests in 2011.

State College Police Chief Tom King calls the weekend “a success,” and points out that several bars chose to close for the entire day, while many others closed early. He also says police responded to fewer crimes involving out-of-town visitors, who have traditionally been some of the worst offenders over the pseudo-holiday weekend.

Two specific out-of-towners did end up causing some problems after they allegedly assaulted a taxi driver on Saturday. According to court documents, Zachary Wiley, 23, and Anthony Mantelli, 21, both of Connecticut, face multiple misdemeanor charges after Wiley allegedly punched a taxi driver in the face before the two men fled the scene.

There was also a slight uptick in DUIs and reported alcohol overdoses. Police made ten DUI arrests this year, which is up from six, while 15 people had to be taken to the hospital for alcohol overdoses, which is up from 10.

One incident at McDonald’s also led to the first use of a taser by a State College police officer.

At about 2:30 a.m. on Saturday, officers responded to a report that a large group of people had been loudly yelling at McDonald’s staff before being kicked out of the restaurant. According to court documents, police asked one woman who had been kicked out – Ciarah Bishop, 22, of Philadelphia – to leave the premise several times.

Each time, Bishop reportedly left but came back again, even after being warned that she could be arrested. When she continued to try to enter the McDonald’s, police tried to put her in handcuffs. She allegedly resisted arrest and tried to punch and kick the officers. She allegedly continued to violently resist arrest after being hit with pepper spray, leading one officer to use a taser to subdue her.

Bishop now faces felony assault charges, and misdemeanor charges of resisting arrest, vandalism and disorderly conduct.

King says the department is currently reviewing the decision to use to a taser to determine if it was appropriate. The department will review every incident that involves a taser to determine if proper protocol was followed, he says.

King says the first ever THAW Festival also drew people downtown over the weekend. He says he was pleased to see families and young children who came downtown for the various free events and performances, giving downtown “more diversity” over the weekend.

“There’s no comparison between this year and several years ago,” King says. “It was much calmer, and very manageable.”

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Michael Martin Garrett is a reporter and editor for StateCollege.com who covers local government, the courts, the arts and writes the Keeping the Faith column. He's a Penn State alumnus, a published poet and the bassist in a local indie rock band.
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