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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Column: Bread and Butter

We all know about the “riots” that took place after the UA vs. Wisconsin Elite Eight game last year. This year, despite the Wildcats losing to the Badgers yet again, was a much different story.

Admittedly, the game outcome was different — it wasn’t as close. However, the police deserve credit for learning from last year’s mistakes: they did not warn fans of a potential riot and did not show up in riot gear. This is a tremendous improvement. All in all, the police blocked off the street so that fans had a place to go after the game. Yes, their technology was over the top for a college basketball game and the watchtower on University Boulevard was largely unnecessary, but preparations kept everyone safe and “riot”-free this year.

This year, UA students’ Facebook pages were filled with selfies of fans and police officers on University Boulevard. The year before, they were filled with pictures of a man getting shot repeatedly with some form of gas, and of police officers interacting violently with students.

Though some say the preparations looked much like a police state, its only fair to know that police will police an event they think might get out of control. The way they police the event makes the difference.

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Maddy Bynes is a junior studying political science and history. Follow her on Twitter.



It might be easy to credit the lack of a riot after the Elite Eight basketball game to the efforts of the Tucson Police Department. That’d be wrong, though, because TPD seems not to have learned from last year’s mistake.

The “unlawful assembly” a year ago wasn’t because students were loud and ready to rumble with law enforcement. Instead, much of the blame was TPD’s, whose officers showed up en masse in riot gear ahead of the game. It was a move that intimidated people who were already drunk and in a bad mood, causing a riot.

This year’s response was no different. Again, tens of officers were lined up on University Boulevard. It was a risky move that could have once more caused a riot.

Maybe there wasn’t a riot because the students were smarter; maybe it was because of outreach beforehand by UA officials. It certainly wasn’t because of TPD, which did nothing different than last year.

The problem is in the underlying assumption of why a police presence is needed. When TPD assumes that there will be a riot, it ends up causing one by antagonizing people who otherwise would just go home. It’s a presumption of guilt before innocence, and it’s exactly what happened last year.

Lining up officers before the game and having them be nice is not the solution. The solution is to give people a chance to go home without being treated like they are potential problems.

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Ashwin Mehra is a physiology major. Follow him on Twitter.

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