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The Ave Herald

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Arrests Made in Disturbance Outside Pub of Ave Maria

UPDATE:The town center was a sea of flashing blue lights overnight after more than a half-dozen police cars from the Collier County Sheriff's Office and the Florida Highway Patrol responded to an unruly disturbance outside the pub of Ave Maria.

Police arrested two students, charging them with obstructing or resisting a law enforcement officer without violence. Prosecutors declined to proceed in either case.

Sheriff's Office information officer Jamie Mosbach said that the incident began when a sheriff's deputy on a paid detail in the town center went to assist a young woman who appeared heavily intoxicated. A crowd formed and the deputy called for back-up. Ms. Mosbach said at least one woman, the one who police were attempting to assist, was taken to the hospital, but she had no further information on her condition.

Bystanders who observed the scene said that several unruly students had to be subdued by police, and that many students were disrespectful to the responders, shouting obscenities and calling them "pigs." The police report on the incident described the situation as "volatile" and said that a crowd of about 50 young people "standing in front of and around the pub" were "yelling and mocking us as we exited our vehicles."

A student who got in touch with The Ave Herald, Michael John Dauphinais, whose father is the VP of Academic Affairs at AMU, said that in his opinion both the police and the students behaved too aggressively.

"Both sides were at fault, and need to do things in the future to minimize the fallout," he said.

"I'd like to see a statement from the police about why certain students were put in cuffs," Mr. Dauphinais said. "But the students used a lot of profanity and showed a lot of aggession. They need to have a better attitude and be more polite in dealing with the officers."

Police eventually dispersed the crowds and the pub closed an hour early at 1 a.m.

The pub, which was formerly called the Queen Mary Pub and Grille, recently was sold to new owners Chris Heitman of Chicago and Krista Joyce of Ave Maria, wife of Ave Maria University's vice president of institutional advancement, Kevin Joyce.

Mr. Heitman said in an interview that the pub has strict policies and that the pub customers are not the problem. "Kids come into the town center who have been drinking elsewhwere, in dorms or in their cars, and they show up at the pub already intoxicated."

He said that the girl who was taken to hospital was already heavily under the influence of alcohol when she entered the pub, and that she left almost immediately. "She was not our customer," he said.

"I'm glad the police are there, and I'm glad they are arresting people who don't obey the rules," Mr. Heitman said. "I want the problem solved. We don't want those kids there."

The pub has for many years been a source of tension with residents of the town center condominiums, some of which are directly above the pub, because of late-night noise and other issues.

In recent weeks, police patrols have reported other incidents of name-calling and swearing at deputies by Ave Maria Unviersity students.

One deputy who was present at the beginning of the most recent disturbance told a resident, "This pub is out of control."

(This article was updated Monday morning, Sept. 29, to add information on another arrest that took place. That information was unavailable Sunday. Another update was made Sunday evening to include comments from witness Michael John Dauphinais)
Note: the paid police detail was contracted by The Residences of La Piazza Condominium Association, of which Ave Herald publisher David Shnaider is president.


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