Dozens ticketed, 7 arrested in 'unacceptable' Panda Game aftermath, say police
Police have said they would have 'zero tolerance' for disruptive parties
Seven people have been arrested and dozens more ticketed on yet another Panda Game weekend filled with raucous post-game celebrations.
In a statement Sunday afternoon, Ottawa police called the partying that followed the annual football game between the University of Ottawa and Carleton University "unnecessary and unacceptable."
Early Sunday morning, the police service said it had issued 88 tickets for open alcohol. Seven people had been arrested, including arrests for public intoxication and mischief, while two $2,000 tickets were given out for loud mufflers.
Police said they'd dispersed crowds Saturday night after some people began throwing objects at officers. Just before 10 p.m., they tweeted that they were asking the crowds in Sandy Hill — which brushes up against the University of Ottawa — to disperse "immediately."
The University of Ottawa Gee-Gees took home Pedro the Panda Saturday with a 37-7 victory over the Carleton Ravens.
After the Gee-Gees won the 2021 game, thousands of people also descended upon Sandy Hill. At one point, partygoers on Russell Avenue flipped a car, and several people ended up facing a range of charges.
Given how those festivities got out of hand, police vowed to have "zero tolerance" this year. Dozens of officers were milling about Sandy Hill Saturday afternoon as students headed to post-game celebrations.
On Sunday, the city's bylaw department said it had issued 16 tickets for excessive noise, one for littering and three for vaping or smoking in prohibited areas.
The department had increased the fines for violating noise rules to $1,000. Officers had also ticketed 109 vehicles and towed nine more, they said.
While officers were able to disperse big street gatherings Saturday evening, from a policing viewpoint it's "not sustainable" to keep handling Panda Game celebrations this way, said Rideau-Vanier Coun. Mathieu Fleury.
"Without strong police presence last evening, we would have easily seen the same situation as we saw last year on Russell," said Fleury.
"Police [are] doing their own debrief. The university is doing its own debrief. I'm doing my own debrief with the community. And we'll come back to the table with recommendations."
University of Ottawa Students' Union President Armaan Singh said while it's unfortunate students were ticketed, no concerns had been raised to him or other members of his executive team.
"The overwhelming majority of students agree that what happened last year should not repeat," he told CBC News early Saturday evening, before the largest
"Students want to be able to preserve this tradition of having Panda every fall."
We are attending areas where large parties are underway and are engaging with residents to ensure all applicable laws are respected. <a href="https://t.co/5fsnXPrOny">pic.twitter.com/5fsnXPrOny</a>—@OttawaPolice
Singh said his organization did not agree with the increased police presence, and they were encouraging students to avoid the neighbourhood.
While he hadn't heard of any negative interactions between police and students at the time he spoke to CBC, Singh said large numbers of officers can lead to uneasiness.
"We do know that police do often make students, especially racialized students, feel more unsafe rather than feel more secure. And that more police and more law enforcement present can lead to more racial profiling and whatnot," Singh said.
"And so that's a major concern for us."
Rather than having more police, students should be incentivized to party at local businesses through drink deals or live events, Singh added.
With files from Ben Andrews, Trevor Pritchard and Radio-Canada