Gasparilla events result in campus arrests
Published: Monday, January 28, 2013
Updated: Monday, January 28, 2013 02:01
In addition to the pirates and beads, Gasparilla is also known for the drinking and crimes that come with it.
Tampa’s annual Gasparilla Invasion, which took place on Saturday in Downtown Tampa, brought with it underage drinking, increased police activity and more crimes this weekend, and according to WTSP Channel 10 News, Tampa Police arrested 68 adults at the event.
University Police (UP) spokesman Lt. Chris Daniel said the Gasparilla event doesn’t typically have as much of an impact on campus, but said UP heightened its patrol this weekend because of the event.
“Obviously (the Gasparilla celebration) is for the entire city, and students are a part of that city,” Daniel said. “Sometimes they get caught up in the revelry and celebration.”
UP spokeswoman Lt. Charlotte Domingo said UP assisted with the festivities by providing assistance with a marine unit and a motor unit by conducting safety checks and escorting the parade.
One arrest was made on-campus that was directly related to Gasparilla, she said in an email to The Oracle.
“University Police observed an underage student in possession of alcohol at a bench in the Greek Village area while waiting for a bus to Gasparilla,” Domingo wrote. “The 19-year-old student was arrested for underage possession of alcohol and released with a Notice to Appear in court.”
But Domingo said it was difficult to gauge which other crimes were connected to Gasparilla festivities. Three additional arrests were made for possession of marijuana.
Each year, the city of Tampa hosts a parade to commemorate pirate Jose Gaspar and includes an “invasion” with a flotilla of boats and crowds of people dressing up like pirates.
Gabby Rosen, a sophomore majoring in mass communications, said this was her first time attending Gasparilla and said she saw how chaotic events can turn at Gasparilla.
“There were cops everywhere,” Rosen said. “They were standing around making sure nobody died. Somebody cracked his head open, and the police helped him. I also saw a lot of people throwing up.”
After the parade took place on Saturday, UP continued to monitor the Gasparilla celebration throughout the night.
A community notification from UP said police conducted “DUI heightened patrols” within the community. The patrol took place between midnight and 4 a.m., and police officers sought to identify impaired drivers.
No drivers were arrested for DUIs.
Nicole Raczkowski, a sophomore majoring in psychology, said attending Gasparilla in the past prepared her for this weekend’s events.
“There were some stupid people, but that happens,” Raczkowski said. “People were dressed up, drinking and doing anything for beads, like screaming, waving and trading with each other. I went the year before, so I knew what I was getting into.”
— Additional reporting by Elizabeth Engasser