Early on the morning of Sunday, May 3rd, approximately 200 students rioted, clashing with police on Greek Row in the College Hill neighborhood of Pullman. The riot, possibly provoked by a WSU ban on on-campus drinking, injured twenty-three police officers and about twelve party-goers.
Initially, two police officers were called at midnight to investigate a car-pedestrian accident at the intersection of Colorado and A streets. When police arrived at the scene, rioters pelted them with rocks, beer cans, and construction materials. They also overturned portable toilets and lit bonfires on the street. The officers retreated and called for backup, “giving the party a chance to cool down,” according to Pullman Police Chief Tim Weatherly.
Seeing no reduction in the rioting by 2 a.m., a combined force of ninety-three officers and troopers from Pullman and Moscow tried to disperse the crowd with tear gas, smoke, and water. This only diverted the crowd around the police, and rioters continued to attack law enforcement for two more hours. The riot was finally dispersed at 5:30 a.m. with property damage listed at $15,000. In the next year and a half, twenty-two felony charges were filed against the students involved. Many of them were plea-bargained down to misdemeanors, resulting in nineteen convictions.