Kingston Police weigh in on "busy, but not overly troublesome" Homecoming

Seventeen arrests and 105 liquor license tickets tallied as of Sunday morning

Journal File Photo

For the Kingston Police and other first responders, this weekend’s Homecoming brought in relatively few incidents, with both arrests and tickets down from previous years.

“Usually, in these cases, it’s the few ruining it for the many,” Kingston Police Const. Steve Koopman said at just after 5:00 p.m. on Saturday. At the time of his call, Koopman had just stepped out of the force’s afternoon briefing with supervisors and staff sergeants on-duty for the day.  

His sentiment came after a relatively calm recap of the morning and previous night, which he called “busy, but not overly troublesome”. Officers had been patrolling the University District in squad cars and on horseback, managing intoxication and spillover of party-goers onto the street.

Over the course of the weekend, 166 tickets were doled out, with 28 on Friday and 77 on Saturday. Total, 77 were for open alcohol, 13 for underage drinking and 15 for public intoxication.

The number of tickets last year came in at 203, with the year previous at 184.

Police also arrested 19 people. Two were intoxications on Friday evening, with 15 intoxication arrests on Saturday, one breach of peace, and three injuries to animals. 

One of the injuries to animals was caught on video, sparking attention online and an article in Vice, which featured a young woman slapping a police horse and being knocked over in the process.

A male Algonquin student, a female Queen’s student, and a male from Coburg are facing criminal charges for slapping the horse, Murney, who is still in training.

The charge falls under an amendment to the Criminal Code known as "Quanto's Law," named after an Edmonton police dog stabbed to death by a suspect in 2013.

The law, which was enacted in July 2015, is aimed at protecting police and military service animals by holding accountable those who kill or injure them, and replaces punishments available under broader animal cruelty laws.

Anyone convicted of killing a police animal now faces up to five years in prison, while injuring animals can net up to 18 months in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.

As for the intoxication arrests, Koopman explained that “if people are arrested for public intoxication, normally it means they’re drawing attention to themselves.”

“The officers are almost sometimes forced to act, in terms of they’re not listening to commands and literally staggering out in the middle of the street, starting to cause disturbance,” he said.

The two arrests on Friday evening had been to students from University of Toronto and University of Windsor. “None of them were Queen’s students,” he said.

However, throughout Saturday, five out of the 15 arrests were Queen’s students, with no alumni booked. A McMaster, Western, Laurier, Algonquin, and SLC student were each arrested, along with 5 non-student individuals from out of town.

Arrest numbers were consistent with last year, and down from the year previous at 24.

Graphic by Rachel Liu

Looking at the day, Koopman said that “students from the most part appear to have been cooperative and understanding of police and our role, which is ultimately public safety.”

Earlier information that the University District and Aberdeen Street in particular had been “lost” was incorrect, Koopman said.

“That’s not our optics at all,” Koopman said. “It wasn’t lost. It doesn’t look like it was a coordinated effort by a group to take over the street like we’ve seen sometimes in past years. This was just sheer numbers, a pure amount of people there that spilled out onto the street.”

Moving into the evening, he said that an influx of officers were preparing to hit the streets, with a second mid-evening shift to manage crowds. “We’re hoping that people respect not only the city, but enjoy themselves responsibly,” he said.

The KP Street Crime Unit would additionally be out on the street checking in on illegal keg parties, which require a liquor licence to sell entry to. Throughout the evening, according to The Whig-Standard, officers attended to a house on Alfred Street for a report of a fight and a man with a knife.

Kingston Fire and Rescue attended to nine incidents in the University District between 12:20 p.m. and 3:45 a.m. on Sunday, ranging from medical assists to overcrowding.

KP reported, following the weekend, that aside from intoxication and one woman injuring her foot on a roof’s shingling, “there were no other known or reported injuries,” and that no sexual assaults were reported.

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