Bellingham riot costs exceed $6,000 so far; suspects still sought

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDNovember 10, 2013 

BELLINGHAM - Nearly a month after an October riot near Western Washington University, the cost to taxpayers is emerging.

A glimpse of the public bill compiled so far:

Public Works: $629.53 for street sign replacement and installation, street sweeping and overtime.

Bellingham Police Department: $5,130 for damage to patrol vehicles and $100 for patrol bicycle tires and tubes.

Other public costs may include replacement of Bellingham's entire arsenal of crowd control devices and overtime for the Washington State Patrol SWAT team, which sent officers from as far away as Snohomish County.

Private property owners also received bills of their own, including several who had cars parked in the area during the melee.

The riot happened after police broke up a noisy block party Oct. 12 and hundreds of drunk teenagers and college students gathered in Laurel Park, north of WWU. Officers told the crowd to disperse for more than an hour while some threw glass bottles, chairs, cinder blocks and plates at officers and patrol cars.

YouTube videos uploaded by participants and bystanders show people running naked across the intersection, throwing street signs, and chanting things such as "freshmen," and "(Expletive) the police." Police used pepper balls, bean bags and smoke canisters to break up the crowd.

Three were arrested and booked into Whatcom County Jail that night, two others were booked during following weeks, and another man was cited.

Since then, police have cited several others, including: Didier Bernard Foley for riot and failure to disperse; Taylor Douglas Hertz, for failure to disperse; Jordan Kyle Samford, for failure to disperse and second- and third-degree malicious mischief; Nicholas Andrew Stout, for misdemeanor riot; and a 16-year-old from Blaine, who was referred to juvenile court for failure to disperse and riot, said Sgt. Jason Monson.

Nine of those cited or arrested so far were under the legal drinking age, and two are WWU students. Detectives have identified 13 other people they plan to interview and potentially cite, Monson said.

Police again asked the public to help them identify six of 11 people in photos the department released Oct. 17 (see photo gallery).

Anyone with information about those photographed is asked to call Detective Gina Crosswhite at 360-778-8835 or send an anonymous tip via the city website at cob.org.

Reach Samantha Wohlfeil at 360-756-2803 or samantha.wohlfeil@bellinghamherald.com.

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