The police presence in downtown Lowell on Friday night was pretty astounding, but it certainly did not appear to be something the city could afford to continue. I saw well over a dozen cruisers from state police, Lowell, and UMass-Lowell, and many more officers on foot or working bar details.
The large number of officers were there because of Winterfest, and in response to Thursday night’s brawl.
Photographer Tory Germann and I were assigned to work Friday night into Saturday morning about 2:30 a.m. My story on what we saw will run in Monday’s paper, and a slideshow of photos Tory got will appear on lowellsun.com.
Photo above is by Tory Germann.
In the meantime, here are a few videos I shot while we were out and about. I’ve included a small story/description with each.
1. Trainview Arrest
A man is arrested outside the Trainview Pub, on Gorham Street, after he refused to leave the area while police investigated an assault. Officers were called to the pub, near the Spaghettiville Bridge, at 12:30 a.m., drawing multiple units from downtown Lowell.
Police said they had to force their way inside after patrons tried to prevent them from entering. Once inside, officers found a man bleeding so profusely they initially thought he was stabbed.
At the hospital, it was determined he was only bleeding from facial injuries suffered in a beating.
Aside from the disorderly conduct arrest, no other arrests were made because the victim could not tell police who attacked him, or why he was attacked.
Capt. James McPadden said the group that was at the Trainview was originally scheduled to be in Club44 downtown, before that club was closed Friday morning. I confirmed that information via Facebook. Imagine if this had happened downtown?
2. Are you stupid?
As Lowell Police Capt. James McPadden and Sgt. Stephen O’Neill sit in the black, unmarked car in the video, and a state police cruiser drivers past them on the left, you suddenly hear McPadden loudly ask some men on the far right of the video “hey, are you stupid?”
I missed what happened, but McPadden would later explain to me that even as he sat there in a police cruiser, as another police cruiser drove by, and even with at least five other police cruisers within sight further up the street, one of the men in the group on the right stopped and leaned up against a wall as if he was about to urinate.
He moved along once McPadden shouted.
3. Smokehouse dispersed.
At 12:30 a.m., I stopped at the Village Smokehouse on Middle Street to talk to co-owner Tim Kelleher, who was already turning people away from his bar. He explained that he was at capacity, and that he wasn’t letting anymore customers in even if the crowd thinned out a bit before close.
At 12:30, a girl tried to show Kelleher her driver’s license. He asked “do you already have a hand stamp?” She said “No, but here’s my license.” Kelleher said “I’m sorry you’ll have to go somewhere else. We’re already full for the night.” (A stamp would have indicated the girl had been carded and previously inside the club). He turned her business away.
This video is from about 1:30 a.m., when the bar was closing and the crowd was exiting. Extra police units were requested with some urgency by officers at the scene, hence the fast pace of the start of the video, as a photographer and I rush from Merrimack Street to Middle Street.
The video starts as officers at the scene report “we’re all set,” and that backup units can slow down.
In fairness to Kelleher, the loud voice that can be heard in the video telling people to “move along,” is the voice of Kelleher, not police. Kelleher is almost always in front of his bar at closing time, helping to keep the peace and helping police move people along.
Kelleher deals with this situation every weekend, except he and his staff usually only have help from one, two, or three police officers.
And the crowds on Friday night may have been smaller than usual. Usually, I can rarely find parking in the Enterprise Bank lot by 12:30 a.m. On this night, there were plenty of spots.
Not every weekend is Winterfest. Not every weekend sees police trying to send a message with increased manpower. Imagine bigger crowds, and one-fourth as many police.