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Posted at 11:33 PM ET, 02/ 2/2011

Calm and unhappy after U-Md.-Duke game

By Matt Zapotosky

In the days before Wednesday's Maryland-Duke game, police and university officials touted their Herculean efforts to stop a raucous celebration before it began.

They didn't mention the ultimate buzz kill: an 80-62 Duke win.

As the final whistle blew on Wednesday night's game at the Comcast Center, the U-Md. students in the bars along Route 1 were in no mood to celebrate. There was no revelry, no flooding of the streets. Only dejected fans wondering whether this game is still even a rivalry.

"We feel like they're our rivals, but I don't think this game is more important to them than U-Va.," said Fernando Saltiel, 21, a senior studying economics. "I mean, it's pretty maddening that Maryland's not in it every year."

"To call it a rivalry, you need to have some sort of consistent competitiveness," added Ryan McCullin, 22, a senior English major. "We have the potential to be a top 10 program every year, and it just doesn't happen."

The Duke-Maryland game has historically posed a problem for police -- especially when Maryland wins.

Last March, 28 people, including 23 U-Md. students, were arrested and charged during a raucous celebration after a regular-season win over Duke. The incident became even more high-profile when a video emerged showing three county officers beating an unarmed student with their batons. Those officers remain the target of a federal investigation.

After a Final Four loss to Duke in 2001, a mob started fires and caused about $500,000 in damage. The following year, after the team's national championship victory, at least 17 people were arrested, six police cars damaged and three state troopers injured.

This year, police met with students several times before the game, trying to make themselves “visible in a way that wasn’t the way it was in the video tapes,” said Maj. Robert Liberati, commander of the Prince George's County Police Department's District 1 station, which encompasses College Park.

Police and university officials scheduled an on-campus bonfire for right after last night's game, hoping to attract revelers away from Route 1, Liberati said. They even held a prayer vigil the night before, appealing directly to God to stem the violence, Liberati said.

“I can honestly say we’ve done a lot more than we’ve ever done to reach out and build some bridges,” he said.

From a tactical perspective, police had more than 100 officers specifically trained in civil disturbance ready to deploy, said Maj. Andrew Ellis, the public affairs commander for the Prince George's department. Liberati said those officers had received additional training beyond the norm during the summer. He said the Prince George's police were also working with several other law enforcement agencies to keep the night safe, and they would have camera crews roving the streets to capture any possible mayhem.

At least as of 11:30 pm, they didn't need any of it.

By Matt Zapotosky  | February 2, 2011; 11:33 PM ET
Categories:  Crime and Public Safety, Maryland  
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PG County Police: Worst gang in America.

MD hasn't "rioted" in almost a decade, yet the PG county police come looking for a fight with MD students every year when Duke visits. Last year was the most blatant example of police brutality I've ever seen, with several incidents of police attacking innocent bystanders--all of it captured on video.

I'm sure the group of people most upset with tonight's loss were the PG County Police, who couldn't find any "mobs" of innocent people to attack.

Posted by: Barno1 | February 3, 2011 12:12 AM | Report abuse

Wow, I'd have thought the worst gang in America was the Bloods or Crips, maybe MS-13 or some Mafia guys or something. But it turns out it's the PG County Police. Thanks for cluing me in, jerk.

Posted by: spunkydawg1 | February 3, 2011 12:37 AM | Report abuse

spunkydawg1, PG County has a police department that has led the nation in police brutality incidents, has multiple federal investigations into, including another recent probe by the FBI? I am not a "jerk" for pointing out the gang mentality that has long existed in the PG County police force.

Posted by: Barno1 | February 3, 2011 1:34 AM | Report abuse

PG county police have done their part to escalate any violence and behavior issues and that has always come who's going to justify the cost to pay overtime to those police and when will taxpayers simply say enough...guess not...

Posted by: wmnatzakanian | February 3, 2011 8:24 AM | Report abuse

Wow, the big news is that cops beat up a unarmed student and the problem is the students?

Posted by: PhilaTerp | February 3, 2011 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Barno, you still looking forward to rubbing it in our faces and laughing at us Gary Haters on selection sunday or are you going to be hating life with the rest of us watching MD play Sisters of Texas in the NIT?

Posted by: cm88 | February 3, 2011 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Hey Barno,
There should be plenty of tickets available for the first round of the NIT at Comcast. Got yours yet? Hey, you must be in the front row!

Posted by: 70Terp | February 3, 2011 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Pathetic that "no riot" is the news story. When's the last time there was a riot after a game in Durham or Chapel Hill?

Posted by: dbunkr | February 3, 2011 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Good to see cm88 and 70terp have already thrown in the towel on the season. These are the very worst kind of fans. Thankfully, Gary and our players aren't going to quit on the season as quickly as these "fans". And yes, after your newest idiotic comments, I am looking forward more than ever to rubbing these comments in your face on Selection Sunday.

Posted by: Barno1 | February 3, 2011 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Somebody please tell me. Where do these UM students come from? And what's this obsession with fire? They should change their slogan to, "Fear the Torch" The primary major at UM must be arson. Thousands of people who live nearby, including me, were happy to see Duke win in a blowout, knowing that we could go to bed and not have to guard our cars and houses. The UM officials and Prince Georges County police, set a huge bonfire on campus, hoping to draw the students in like fireflies. What's next, a post game fire at center court?

Posted by: louwat37318 | February 3, 2011 4:07 PM | Report abuse

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