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Kingston Police, Bylaw report escalation of concerning behaviour over Homecoming weekend

Partiers set off fireworks in Victoria Park on Saturday night. Photo by Cris Vilela.

Despite Queen’s University holding a virtual Homecoming this year, reckless ‘celebrations’ spilled out into the streets of the University District.

According to a release from the City of Kingston, at least 100 partiers risk having permanent police or court records resulting from disruptive gatherings held over the Oct. 16 weekend, with the potential for 59 additional identities to be disclosed publicly under Emergency Order No. 5.   

“To say we are frustrated, angry, and exhausted only begins to describe the feelings among police, enforcement staff, paramedics, hospital personnel, the community, and myself. I don’t know how to make the message any clearer,” said Mayor Paterson. “We will continue to fine, ticket, and penalize anyone who ignores the law. If you are a student, you really need to consider how one night of partying and reckless behaviour could affect your future. If you are coming here from out of town to party, be prepared to come back for a summons to court.” 

In an escalation of recent trends, Bylaw Enforcement issued 59 Administrative Monetary Penalties (AMPs), 43 of which were for hosting, attending or sponsoring an aggravated nuisance party, according to the release. Kingston Police issued 66 provincial offences fines, 3 criminal charges for obstructing a peace officer and 30 AMPs – 16 of which were for aggravated nuisance parties. 36 individuals were arrested.  

“I am strongly condemning the continued aggressive, volatile, and disrespectful behaviour that has been directed at our officers and by-law partners. It is completely unacceptable,” said Kingston Police Chief Antje McNeely. “They are there to ensure our community is safe, and any illegal behaviour will be addressed proactively through appropriate fines and charges.  To those who cannot comprehend the seriousness of their actions, I can’t stress this enough:  don’t risk putting your future in jeopardy by having a criminal record.” 

Under Emergency Order No. 5, individuals who receive an AMP for hosting, attending or sponsoring an aggravated nuisance party can have their personal identities disclosed. According to the City, individuals who receive a court summons will have their identity retained as part of a permanent court record and individuals who are arrested and charged will have a permanent police record. A reciprocal agreement is in place with Queen’s University to facilitate the disclosure of identities who have received a fine during the University District Safety Initiative with the intent of providing to Queen’s University to facilitate non-academic sanctions, where necessary. 

City and Community Partners deliver a coordinated response 

On Saturday, Oct. 16 and in the early hours of Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021, Kingston Police, Bylaw Enforcement, Frontenac Paramedics, and Kingston Fire & Rescue worked together to mitigate disruptive gatherings and ensure that emergency services were able to respond to the evolving situation, according to the release. Kingston Police also had support from Durham Police and the Ontario Provincial Police’s public order unit. 

In addition to the incident response, City staff and police engaged with community partners from Kingston Health Sciences Centre and KFL&A Public Health in the weeks leading up to the event.  

Reports of additional gatherings planned for the weekend of Oct. 23 

The City said that Kingston Police and Bylaw Enforcement are preparing to respond to reports of additional gatherings planned for the weekend of Oct. 23, with the potential of partiers visiting from out of town. Community partners are preparing additional measures including staffing additional officers, according to the release. 

Behaviour that risks COVID-19 transmission and puts a strain on emergency services, puts all community members at risk. While many community members may be vaccinated, the City stated that visitors coming from out of town for gatherings that make physical distancing and other public health measures almost impossible are extremely concerning.  

“We recognize that the impact of COVID-19 has been particularly stressful for young adults; however, large gatherings of people not following social gathering limits and rules is counterproductive to the efforts and safety measures that have been put in place to protect our community and to keep everyone safe and healthy,” said Dr. Piotr Oglaza, Medical Officer of Health for KFL&A Public Health. “We all have a role to play in keeping emergency rooms clear, roads open for emergency vehicles, and COVID-19 cases low in our community.” 

Kingston Police statistics – Oct. 15 and 16 

Provincial Offences: 

  • 33 Open Liquor Charges under the Liquor Licensing Act 
  • 28 Public Intoxication Charges 
  • 5 Highway Traffic Act Charges 

Criminal Charges:  

  • 3 charges for Obstructing a Peace Officer 

Arrests: 

  • 8 for breach of peace 
  • 28 for public intoxication 

Administrative Monetary Penalties:   

  • 3 for obstructing an officer   
  • 15 for attending, hosting or sponsoring an aggravated nuisance party (totaling $30,000) 
  • 2 for yelling or shouting  

Kingston Police are also actively investigating two other incidents that took place over the weekend. A case of criminal mischief occurred, where two individuals vandalized a Kingston Transit bus in the area of Johnson St. and University Ave. on the afternoon of Saturday, Oct. 16. Also, an assault with a weapon occurred shortly after 1 a.m. on Oct. 17. According to the release, the victim in this incident was in Victoria Park during the mass gathering when he was stabbed in the lower back. The victim was transported from the scene to Kingston General Hospital where he was treated for a non-life-threatening injury.    

Inquiries relating to both investigations can be directed to Kingston Police.  

Bylaw Enforcement statistics – Oct. 15 and 16 

Administrative Monetary Penalties:  

  • 1 for obstructing an officer 
  • 43 for attending, hosting or sponsoring an aggravated nuisance party 
  • 14 for amplification of sound 
  • 1 for yelling or shouting 
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