Police seek help identifying those who caused damage in post-game chaos

gkocher1@herald-leader.comApril 3, 2012 

Lexington police are seeking the public's help in identifying 14 people who might have committed crimes Saturday night near State Street while celebrating the University of Kentucky's win over the University of Louisville.

During a news conference Monday afternoon, Lexington Police Cmdr. Shawn Coleman showed photographs of those who are wanted for allegedly throwing bottles at police, shooting fireworks into a crowd, starting a vehicle fire or damaging a stop sign.

Police are asking residents to identify the people in the videos and photos through a Web site, IDThisperson.com, where a $25 reward is offered for tips that lead to arrests. Residents with information also can call (859) 258-3700, the police bureau of investigations.

If identified and caught, the people might face charges of arson, wanton endangerment, assault or criminal mischief, depending on what the photographs documented or what officers witnessed.

"Most of the UK fans celebrating Saturday night were happy, peaceful and law-abiding," Lexington Police Chief Ronnie Bastin said. "While the majority of people celebrating on State Street were doing so in an acceptable manner, the behavior of some was dangerous, criminal and totally unacceptable."

Bastin said he was not aware of any arrests made yet based on information from videos or photos that were taken Saturday night.

In an email message to students on Monday, UK President Eli Capilouto admonished a "small minority" of students for tarnishing the school's image.

"The excitement over Saturday's victory against the Cardinals was quickly dampened by the irresponsible and destructive behavior of some UK students and community members," Capilouto said. "The illegal and dangerous actions of a small minority detracted from honoring the student-athletes who have worked tirelessly to represent UK at a national level."

He said students who jeopardize the safety of others will face penalties under UK's Code of Student Conduct. Possible penalties for violating the code of conduct include a warning letter, probation, suspension or expulsion.

More than 30 people were arrested after Saturday's celebration in UK neighborhoods by police, the sheriff's office, fire emergency services and UK police on charges including alcohol intoxication, criminal mischief and disorderly conduct.

Mark Fister, who has owned a four-plex apartment in the 200 block of State Street for several years, said the street — just off Nicholasville Road and across from UK's campus — first started seeing big after-game crowds about 2005. The crowds have grown since then, he said, perhaps because more students have moved in.

"I lived here in '77-78 when Goose Givens won it, and we went out in the street to celebrate," Fister said. "But there was only maybe four or five of us."

Some students who live in the State Street area said Monday that the neighborhood might be developing a certain reputation that feeds on itself.

"State Street and University have kind of gotten the rep of being party streets, so people know this is where to be," said Courtlan Adams, a UK senior from Lawrenceburg. "People see all the pictures and videos on TV and want to come over here."

Several others agreed with Adams that Saturday night's crowd included many people from parts of town well beyond State Street itself.

Donyale Jones, who was in a group of students on State Street Monday morning, said Saturday night's celebration was "totally ridiculous" and "got completely out of hand once they started flipping cars."

Greg Kocher: (859) 231-3305. Twitter: @HLpublicsafety.

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