Kingston police chief calls Labour Day University District parties 'unconscionable'

Kingston's police chief is condemning the continued large street parties in the Queen's University District that took place over the Labour Day weekend.

Kingston Police Chief Antje McNeely sent out a scathing statement Tuesday, after thousands of young people took part in street parties over the Labour Day long weekend.

“We are witnessing an increasingly concerning trend of unlawful high-risk gathering,” McNeely said. “Such disrespect for the rights of others is unconscionable.”

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Street parties continue in Kingston’s University District, causing safety concerns

Over the long weekend, videos surfaced of people gathered in the Queen’s University District, packed together on local streets shoulder to shoulder. Police estimate the crowds ranged from 3,500 to 5,000 people.

Included with McNeely’s statement came a long list of infractions handed out by both Kingston police and city bylaw officers.

In total, city bylaw officers handed out 11 Reopening Ontario Act court summons for hosting illegal social gatherings over Labour Day weekend. The minimum fine for these infractions is $10,000. Bylaw officers also issued 35 amplified noise penalties, for a total of $7,000-worth over the weekend.

Between Friday evening and Tuesday morning, Kingston police dealt with  106 noise complaints and calls for service in the University District. They also issued 53 fines for open liquor under, seven Highway Traffic Act violations, three amplified noise penalties and made on arrest for public intoxication.

McNeely said the behaviour of those moving in or back to the city has placed an “inexcusable strain” on city resources and emergency responders.

“Besides putting everyone in our community at risk with the COVID virus still very much a concern, the invasion of our streets and parks by irresponsible revellers shows a disappointing lack of maturity,” she said.

The statement ended urging those in the Queen’s area not to gather in unsafe numbers in the coming days, or to face fines under the city’s University District Safety Initiative, which will remain in place until Sept. 19.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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