Police officer assaulted on Aberdeen

Kingston residents still unhappy with students’ behaviour

A Kingston police officer was assaulted with a knife on Aberdeen Street Saturday night, police confirmed at a press conference yesterday.

Deputy Police Chief Robert Napier said the officer didn’t sustain any injuries.

The man was scheduled to appear at a bail hearing yesterday at 2 p.m. Police couldn’t say whether or not the man was still in custody last night.

Police couldn’t say if the person who committed the assault was a student.

The assault charge was one of 54 arrests made on Saturday night and 75 made over Friday and Saturday combined. About 70 of those were alcohol-related.

About 10 of those arrested were Queen’s students.

Napier said there were no reports made of Taser use and no sexual assault was reported.

“I’m not aware of any reports at this time, but [sexual assault reports] can surface afterwards.”

Napier said it’s unreasonable to think the problems posed by the street party could be resolved completely in a few years.

“You do not take a large cruise ship and turn it around quickly in a harbour,” he said. Napier said the final night’s cost isn’t yet known but he estimates it was about $54,000.

Insp. Brian Cookman, who headed the police presence, said the night was a step in the right direction. He said the relationship between the University and the city is “improving daily, but there is still a ways to go.

“I don’t think we’re on the one-yard line for a touchdown.”

He said the co-operation between all parties is encouraging.

On Saturday night, more than 200 volunteers and a similar number of police officers from Kingston, Toronto, Brockville, Gananoque, Smiths Falls, Belleville and the Ontario Provincial Police patrolled Aberdeen Street and helped clean it up after the party.

The smaller numbers and lack of any major incidents lead some to hail the night as a relative success.

Mayor Harvey Rosen opened the press conference by thanking the police, paramedics, volunteers and the AMS for the work they put into the event. He also thanked most Queen’s students.

“I would like to thank the majority of Queen’s students who understood the importance of the weekend and following the laws that needed to be followed.”

Some of the Ghetto’s permanent residents, however, say they aren’t satisfied.

Philip Hart, a 14-year resident of the Ghetto, lives on Collingwood Street. He said the University needs to do more to address student misbehaviour.

“I’m not annoyed that the kids are having parties because I used to do that myself,” he said. “It’s the vandalism, the disrespect, the general noise.”

He said he spent most of Saturday outside his house making sure nothing was damaged.

This year, he said, Friday night was more troublesome than Saturday.

Between 5,000 and 6,500 people were on Aberdeen Street Saturday, compared to about 8,000 last year.

“Maybe some of the students were just worn out,” Hart said, laughing.

Hart, who works for Physical Plant Services at Queen’s, said he and his neighbours have had problems since the beginning of the school year with specific houses on the street.

He called Dean of Student Affairs Jason Laker in mid-September to express his concerns.

Laker and AMS President Kingsley Chak met with about 30 permanent residents in the Ghetto to discuss possible solutions.

Laker said his aim is to facilitate communication between residents and students.

“I think one of the problems in situations like this is that people talk about each other but not to each other.”

He said he has been visiting student houses throughout the month, including the one residents have had particular trouble with for several years.

“I had already talked to that house and I found the people who lived there very receptive,” he said.

Laker said he has encountered situations where students are willing to talk but residents just want students to leave.

But he said he can sympathize with home-owners who have had bad experiences with students in the past.

Chak said he’s working to ensure residents know they have recourse through the AMS.

He said many community members don’t know how to file a complaint through the non-academic discipline system.

“I think the major thing for the AMS is telling community members what our process is,” he said.

Last year, Kingston General Hospital only increased staff on Saturday night.

Twenty-three partiers ended up at the KGH emergency room on Saturday night requiring treatment for intoxication, lacerations and minor assaults. On Friday night, 10 people showed up in the emergency room for similar reasons, said Pam Devine, program operational director of the emergency room at KGH and urgent care at Hotel Dieu.

“Our numbers are similar to the last two years,” Devine said.

In anticipation of Homecoming weekend, Devine said, the hospital increased its emergency room staff by 50 per cent. Extra housekeepers and registration clerks, as well as an increased number of doctors and nurses, were on staff both nights.

“This year, on advice from the police and fire department, we had extra staff on Friday,” she said, adding that the increased staff on both nights strained hospital resources.

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