Richmond Police arrested six people for disorderly conduct on Sunday after VCU’s loss to Butler in the NCAA tournament Final Four game.
Police said rocks, bricks and bottles were all thrown at officers. One officer was hurt after being hit by a brick, but they reported no serious injuries.
Post-game, thousands of students flooded the streets surrounding the
Monroe Park campus. The air was filled with “VCU” and “F*** Butler” chants as a large number of fans began to swarm West Broad Street and walk eastward. VCU and Richmond Police as well as state troopers had already set up barricades of squad cars that blocked off various sections of streets surrounding the university.
“The police are here, people were burning stuff over there, someone knocked a sign down, they threw dirt in the road, there’s trash everywhere,” said Doug Quinn, an eyewitness and bartender at local diner and bar Empire, which is located on the 700 block of West Broad. “At one point I saw riot police come over the (squad) cars. They moved all the people – pepper balls were being fired, people were coughing. I don’t think it was tear gas. There were multiple fires. They walked the crowd down and then it subsided.”
Quinn said several fans started a fire out of debris in the intersection of West Broad and Laurel streets that reached over six feet high.
Jessica Mancuso, a freshman social work major, said the students who chose to gather on Broad Street were
not reflective of the larger student body.
“[The gathering of students] aren’t the real fans,” she said.
Stefano Ghigliazza, a junior business marketing major, said the students who crowded Broad Street were “a little out of hand.”
“It’s good to show your support for VCU but you don’t need to go to those lengths,” Ghigliazza said.
According to VCU student media employees who were on the scene, police dressed in riot gear were stationed on the intersection of West Broad and Harrison streets. As the crowd began to set off fireworks, start fires out of various items including clothing in the streets (even setting trash cans ablaze) and throw toilet paper; the line of police began moving eastbound down West Broad – encouraging fans to disperse while moving toward Belvidere Street.
The window of the AT&T building, located on the 900 block of West Broad Street, was also shattered.