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The Idiots of Fleming Dr. – London Ontario is Embarrassed again

March 18, 2012

17 March 2012 London, Ontario – not a day for celebration after all.  St. Patrick’s Day was beautiful, weather-wise.  London’s Ontario Hockey League Knights clinched the Western Conference and OHL top regular season points lead with a 3-0 shutout over Erie helped by a Plymouth Whalers loss to the Sarnia Sting. The patios were packed and the booze was flowing. And then night fell.

Most Londoners know the party places around town – up on the University of Western Ontario’s campus, downtown on Richmond Row and of course out and around Fanshawe College.  London Police Services (LPS) is well aware of these locations as well and plans accordingly for ‘celebrations.’ The good weather meant the crowds were even larger than normal.

Shortly after 10 pm, a call went out to the Fire Department regarding a brush fire on Fleming Drive near Fanshawe College.  Between the 10 pm call and 1130 pm when reports of a CTV news van on fire occurred, the actions of a few ‘citizens’ caused Fleming Dr and Fanshawe to trend on Twitter.  It’s interesting to note that there were few altercations in any locations other than the Fleming Drive area near Fanshawe College.

Synopsis – details in Police Chief Duncan’s news conference:

  • Regular patrols note drinking/partying on private property, address underage drinking and open alcohol violations.
  • Fire department personnel respond to brush fire incident and are met with a mob throwing debris.  Police support requested in order to allow FD personnel to back off due to threat of injury.  FD escorted to safety
  • Additional police support deployed encounters similar response from large crowd and the decision made to remove LPS vehicles from area to prevent damage etc.  Smoke canisters are required due to attacks on vehicles during the removal process, with 2x4s, bricks, tire rims etc. 17 vehicles damaged.
  • 11:01 Unlawful Assembly announced and repeated
  • 11:30 Reports that a CTV truck had been overturned and set on fire as a crowd watches and cheers.

It embarrasses the City of London and its citizens that such activities can occur.  Do not try to blame this on the emergency services personnel.  There is no reason that people should act in this unlawful and shameful manner. This was not a protest about civil liberties and it is not about a few drunken revellers; it was a small percentage of the population behaving idiotically.

It is the same small percentage that has acted in a similar manner over and over in the past few years. Grow Up!  This is not just a street party, this is dangerous activity.  Overturning and setting a truck on fire is not something that should be cheered. By not allowing emergency services personnel to perform their jobs, you are putting others lives in danger, even if you didn’t hurt them yourself.

Secondary injuries and injuries to ‘innocent’ bystanders who are simply filming the activities by cell phone, add to the confusion. How are emergency services personnel supposed to identify the person who threw a brick versus the person ‘simply watching?’  Save them the trouble and leave the area if you don’t want to be accused of causing the problem.

The biggest problem is that those who create the issue generally do not pay for the damages. Renters do not pay taxes and so do not incur the consequences of damages to city property, including FD and LPS vehicles, and also typically only live in the area for less than 2 years.

Look at the aftermath. Those permanent residents are left with a poor reputation (how do you re-sell your home if you want to leave?) and damaged property. Is this where you want your student-aged child living?  As a student, is this where you want to be living? Think long and hard before you throw that bottle – an arrest is not something that you want on your record going forward.

Update:  Additional footage – via CTV London.

If you can identify anyone in these videos or stills, please inform the police.  This is not a prank or trivial in any way. These are real damages and real costs. The people must be held accountable for their actions.

 

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