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Sunday brawl on SUNY Potsdam Campus leads to arrests and pepper spray

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POTSDAM — Police arrested seven people and used pepper spray to put down a brawl on the SUNY Potsdam campus early Sunday.

Students from SUNY Potsdam, SUNY Canton and Clarkson University were leaving a student-organized dance at the Barrington Student Union building when SUNY Potsdam University Police responded to multiple fights shortly after 1 a.m. Several people received minor injuries, including a Potsdam police officer who scraped his knees while taking a suspect into custody.

The people who were peppered-sprayed were treated by flushing the affected area with water, Potsdam Police Lt. Mark R. Murray said.

Lt. Murray said tensions escalated when police arrived.

“Once we arrived, there were some less than cordial exchanges,” Lt. Murray said. “The persons we arrested made highly graphic, vulgar and defamatory comments toward the police presence and refused to comply with lawful orders to disperse.”

It took police about a half hour to break up the incident, Lt. Murray said.

“In the past we have seen similar issues like this come up, but this seemed like a random thing with a high turnout for the event,” Lt. Murray said.

Potsdam Police charged Deondre J. Riley, 19, the Bronx, and Andrew M. Williams, 20, Brooklyn, with disorderly conduct, a violation, and resisting arrest, a class A misdemeanor. Mr. Riley was arrested on two counts of the latter charge.

Both Mr. Williams and Mr. Riley were issued tickets returnable to Potsdam Village Court.

University Police arrested Bourou A. Diakite, 18, Rushton 202, 34 Cornell Drive; Samuel R. Addei, 19, Heritage 306, 34 Cornell Drive, and Michael Diaz, 20, Canton. All three men were charged with disorderly conduct and were issued appearance tickets returnable to Potsdam Village Court.

University Police also arrested Terrence L. Carter Jr., 19, Heritage 110, 34 Cornell Drive, and Malik Moore, 18, of Canton. Both men were charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest and were issued appearance tickets returnable to Potsdam Village Court.

All those charged except Mr. Williams are SUNY Canton students, said Gregory E. Kie, SUNY Canton college spokesman. They were put on interim suspension pending a college judicial hearing, he said.

SUNY Potsdam spokeswoman Alexandra M. Jacobs said that, out of approximately 270 people who attended the dance, an estimated 20 people were involved in the incident.

“While the preliminary investigation showed that those involved were not SUNY Potsdam students, that has not yet been fully substantiated,” Ms. Jacobs said in a release.

Ms. Jacobs said she wasn’t certain how the dance was publicized. The university’s Office of Campus Life, a division of the college that oversees student associations and organizations, would have been responsible for approving the event, she said. No one from Campus Life was available for comment Monday night.

“It has to be registered through that office with the added details,” Ms. Jacobs said. “Obviously, it is something that has been and will be looked into as a follow up to all of this.”

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