‘We need more from you’: Mayor addresses crowds after championship win

%E2%80%98We+need+more+from+you%E2%80%99%3A+Mayor+addresses+crowds+after+championship+win

CW / Carson Redwine

As the Crimson Tide stormed the field at Hard Rock Stadium to celebrate its eighteenth national title, thousands of Alabama fans stormed the Strip to celebrate the championship win. 

People poured onto University Boulevard from bars on the Strip, nearby apartment complexes and UA residence halls. The crowd spanned from 11th Street to Gene Stallings Avenue. 

 

Mayor Walt Maddox said he hopes last night’s crowds don’t overshadow what the Alabama football program accomplished. 

He said the “thousands upon thousands of people” who gathered on the Strip was larger than any celebration he’s seen in recent memory. 

Tuscaloosa Police Department (TPD) officers, operating with 67% availability of officers, cleared the area by 12:02 a.m., about an hour after the game ended. 

TPD arrested 14 people on 18 different charges ranging from public intoxication and disorderly conduct to resisting arrest and obstructing governmental operations.

No mask citations were issued. Instead, Police Chief Brent Blankley passed out more than 100 masks on the Strip yesterday afternoon. 

About 30 officers on call were split between the Strip and downtown Tuscaloosa. Maddox speculated the situation would have called for “upwards of 500 police officers or law enforcement personnel in riot gear to prevent something like that.” 

TPD drove police cars through the crowd, but the gap closed back once the cars passed. 

Police Chief Brent Blankley said TPD used one canister of pepper spray to disperse the crowd after fights broke out and property was damaged. Blankley said it was “just enough for people to smell it” and leave the area. 

The University’s calendar complicated TPD and city efforts. Classes begin on Wednesday and game attendance was limited. Maddox said these factors likely drove a large number of students into Tuscaloosa earlier than normal. 

UA’s semester will begin under a two-week moratorium on in-person student events. Myron Pope, vice president for student life, said his team will monitor cases on campus to determine if an extension is necessary. 

“If we are going to make a decision,” Pope said, “number one, it has to be an informed decision driven by data.” 

The city’s goal is to ensure that DCH is able to serve the public, but Maddox said last night’s events will bring long-term impacts. 

DCH reported 174 COVID inpatients on Jan. 11, an all-time high for the system. 

Maddox addressed students: “We need more from you.”