Watch Dalhousie's Homecoming party end with police putting out a bonfire | City | Halifax, Nova Scotia | THE COAST

Watch Dalhousie's Homecoming party end with police putting out a bonfire

Updated: Video of the mob scene Saturday night on Larch Street, when Dal's 2022 HoCo peaked with over 2,000 people there.

As surely as Dalhousie University warns its students not to have "unsanctioned street parties" at this time of year, hordes of young people wearing Dal shirts gather for the annual Homecoming party in the residential neighbourhood just north of Dal's Studley campus. HoCo 2022 started on Jennings Street, with public drinking—and urination—happening under the watchful eye of gathered police on sunny Saturday afternoon, October 1.

The police asked the people running the sound system to shut things down around 4pm, and the students dispersed. For neighbourhood residents, it was more annoying than dangerous. When one resident asked a student to stop peeing on a house, the student responded by citing the area's city councillor: "What are you going to do, call Waye Mason?"

But the night brought a second wave of partying around the corner on Larch Street, with more people and more damage. The same thing happened last year during HoCOVID festivities, with infamous video of someone stage-diving the crowd from a tree. This year, with tree branches downed by Hurricane Fiona lining the streets, partygoers started a bonfire in the middle of the street. We have video below of the scene taken by a neighbourhood resident known as Strand.

Police estimated the crowd as between 2,000 and 3,000 people to Strand, and there was a stabbing: Strand heard that from both a cop and a student "who was like, yeah, that's my friend that was stabbed." The video shows at least 20 cops on the scene. One cop complained to Strand that eight police who normally work in Dartmouth had been sent over to Halifax for the party, leaving just four police for all of Dartmouth on Saturday night. "He was really sort of mad about the chief of police," Strand says. "Like he's doing nothing."

Toward the end of the video, police successfully extinguish the bonfire—this was their second attempt to put it out—and apparently a cop is hit by something thrown by a partygoer. You can see several officers helping a cop up from the ground, and then two cops are supporting him to walk down the street.

But the police have also been accused of inappropriate use of force. Dalhousie Student Union president Aparna Mohan tweeted a thread with other video clips, saying "Students texted me saying @HfxRegPolice had begun to pepper spray, tear gas & jump partygoers at Larch Street tonight."

When reached Sunday morning by The Coast, Halifax Regional Police refused to give any comment about what happened during the Homecoming party.

Update Sunday afternoon: Halifax Regional Police released a statement saying the HoCo crowd might have been as many as 4,000 people, and at times they were setting off fireworks and getting into fights. Concurring with details from our story, the statement says it wasn't just Halifax cops on scene because "additional resources were deployed from patrol divisions across the city as the size of the gathering increased," and the police "had to bring a number of injured people out of the area, including a man who suffered injuries as a result of being stabbed, as Emergency Health Services could not get to the injured person due to the crowds and safety hazards."

The statement doesn't mention anything about police using pepper spray, but it does say a "number arrests were made, and dozens of summary offence tickets were issued." Also, it portrays the crowd as aggressive towards the police: "Officers attempted to disperse the crowd and were met with a high level of resistance. Bottles, cans and debris from the storm were thrown at officers. Along with being hit with projectiles, officers were punched, kicked and spit on. Some officers required treatment for non-life-threatening injuries."

Details about what happened are still being gathered given "the scale of the incident," with more information to come. But for now, "Halifax Regional Police would like to reiterate that there are consequences for this behaviour, and express our disappointment at these callous and dangerous acts just days after a devastating storm ravaged many parts of our province and impacted our community."

About The Author

Kyle Shaw

Kyle is the editor of The Coast. He was a founding member of the newspaper in 1993 and was the paper’s first publisher. Kyle occasionally teaches creative nonfiction writing (think magazine-style #longreads) and copy editing at the University of King’s College School of Journalism.

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