BOULDER, Colo. (KDVR) — The use of social media in the attempt to revive the Pearl Street Mall crawl may be behind damage done to businesses on Friday night into early Saturday morning.
The Boulder Police Department said around 9:30 p.m. a crowd of about 200 people ended up in the 1100 block of Pearl Street. By 11 p.m., the crowd had grown to approximately 1,000-2,000 people.
Some people from the crowd ended up on rooftops, hung from trees and light poles, and caused damage to windows and outdoor patio items on the Pearl Street Mall, police said.
“It was insane to say the least,” Japango restaurant manager Natalie Smith said. “Slowly they just started packing in and then people started getting up on the light post, standing on the structures, shoving and everything like that.”
The restaurant incurred a lot of the damage left behind by the crowd. Smith said her staff and diners watched as the chaos unfolded.
“Eventually, we were just like: oh, this is not going to go as peacefully as we thought it was going to so we locked the doors,” Smith said.
“We had, probably about three to four heaters that were shattered and broken. One, two, three, four, five … probably five to eight tables, wood tables that we had that were completely destroyed. Our lounge, all of those were broken and then all of the cushions were dirty and they had blood on them,” Smith said.
BPD dispersed a large number of uniformed officers to the area to break up the crowd. Police said many participants were intoxicated but responded to commands asking them to leave.
“We recognize the negative impact a situation like this has on our local business community, which is already feeling significant pressure due to the pandemic,” Deputy Police Chief Stephen Redfearn said.
Due to health and safety concerns, city officials and businesses have discouraged the traditional Pearl Street Mall crawl over the past few years. Police believe a social media post initially drew the crowd to the area.
While police don’t believe the entire crowd was related to the University of Boulder, CU Police are working with BPD to investigate and identify those involved.
CU provided FOX31 with this statement regarding the incident:
The University of Colorado Police Department (CUPD) assisted with crowd control on Pearl Street on Friday night. CUPD is also prepared to coordinate with the Boulder Police Department on investigations related to Friday evening’s events on the Pearl Street Mall. In addition to municipal sanctions, any students identified and found to be in violation of the university’s student code of conduct, or who are subject to criminal action, will face disciplinary consequences from the university. CUPD also has increased patrols planned for the Halloween weekend. CUPD’s increased presence includes mutual aid from neighboring law enforcement agencies and private security staffing for the concert at the CU Events Center tonight to help ensure a safe event.
BPD used drones in the incident and is reviewing the video to identify anyone committing an illegal act during the siege on the Pearl Street Mall.
“We will be using our investigative resources to demonstrate that there are consequences to destruction of property and other unlawful behaviors,” Redfearn said.
Police patrols were already increased for Halloween weekend and will continue through Monday.
“We understand the desire to go out and have a good time on a beautiful holiday weekend,” 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.”
Anyone who witnessed or experienced property damage is asked to contact Boulder Police at 303-441-3333.