Two Men Arrested After Queer Beer Altercation

Lane Barton, News Editor

An altercation between two Walla Walla residents and Whitman students occurred at the end of a Queer Beer party on Sat. Oct. 3. Police were called to the scene and arrested the two local men on charges of disorderly conduct. An open investigation into these charges is still underway, as information from officers at the scene still needs to be processed by the City Attorney’s Office.

The incident occurred about an hour after Queer Beer, a party aimed at creating a safe social space for GLBTQ students, was opened to the public at 10:30 pm.. A non-Whitman individual, who multiple students believed to be intoxicated, was asked to leave after entering prohibited areas of the event and punching walls.

“[T]here was this one man who started raging around the house, going into places that we didn’t want people going in that we’d cordoned off, and then going back into them when we said no, and so finally we kicked him out of the house…and got him to stay outside,” said junior Dana Bolster, a resident of the house where the party occurred.

According to Bolster, the man asked for a friend still inside the party; when the second man came out, the two began arguing. The argument spread to a few Whitman students trying to de-escalate the situation and included vague threats of violence from the intoxicated man.

“[O]ne of the men yelled out a threat to ‘shoot up’ the house, at which point I made a mental choice that these individuals had to leave immediately, so I stepped in front of the students and confronted the man and said…that they needed to leave. He punched me in the face, which of course caused an immediate reaction from the Whitman students around us,” said a student who requested anonymity because of the on-going investigation.

The ensuing fistfight between the two men and Whitman students prompted an immediate 911 call, as students fought to subdue the pair long enough for police to show up. Officers, after questioning witnesses and taking statements, took the two men away on charges of disorderly conduct. Although the incident did occur after a Queer Beer, some witnesses do not believe that the actions were spurred by discriminatory motivations.

I am 99 percent sure it was just a drunk man who was really upset he left his hat inside and we were kicking him out because he was punching walls, and [I’m] 99 percent sure it wasn’t homophobic in any way–just drunk anger,” said Bolster.