Instagram accounts hosts videos of dangerous, criminal activity during Queen’s Homecoming
Global News has obtained various videos of young people engaging in dangerous and sometimes illegal activity during Homecoming weekend, including one woman swinging from a utility wire, and a man standing on top of a police vehicle.
The exploits of this past weekend, which included about 12,000 partygoers in the Aberdeen Street area on Saturday leading to over 100 provincial violations, are chronicled on Instagram accounts called Queen’s Party Life and their affiliate Canadian Party Life, an organization that describes its mandate as “posting the best campus content from schools around the nation.”
The Instagram accounts post videos they receive of university students engaging in often alcohol-fueled exploits.
One of those videos obtained by Global News shows a young woman swinging from a utility wire supposedly during the Homecoming street party.
Videos like these prompted Utilities Kingston to send out a warning to the public on Tuesday, asking people not to touch, and certainly not to swing from utilities wires.
The release also noted a hydro service mast was physically pulled from a house.
It’s unclear if the wire used by the woman in the video was a hydro wire or another type of line, but Jim Keech, CEO of Utilities Kingston, says no matter what kind of wire it was, no one should be touching it.
“Now there are different types of wires: communication lines, cable TV, telephone, in addition to ours,” Keech said on Wednesday.
“The average person cannot tell the difference. And you reach out, thinking it’s a telephone wire. It could be a house-service wire.”
Keech says some house service wires can deliver a shock of around 240 volts.
“You get a bit of a shock, you let go and you fall, or, if the shock goes through, or the electricity goes through you in a certain manner, it can stop your heart and you’re electrocuted,” he explained.
At this point, Keech says no injuries have been reported, and they, too, are really learning of these incidents through social media.
Keech says Kingston police called them on the day of, asking them to disconnect the power to one home, but he says Utilities Kingston vehicles could not get close enough to the home due to the large crowds in the Aberdeen Street area.
For their part, Kingston police have already expressed their disapproval for how the weekend played out.
“The Kingston Police are disappointed with the behaviour that was displayed on Saturday,” a police news release said on Monday.
On Wednesday, police released data for offences handed out during Homecoming weekends between 2015 to 2019. Although every year saw hundreds of provincial offences cited, this year marks the first time in five years criminal charges were laid.
On Saturday, Kingston police arrested a 20-year-old Toronto man who allegedly damaged a police cruiser by jumping on it repeatedly, before fleeing from police. He is now facing two charges of mischief and causing a disturbance.
Global News has obtained video of a man standing on top of a Kingston police cruiser, but it’s unclear if this is the 20-year-old who was later arrested.
Kingston police are also still investigating two other potentially criminal incidents.
The first involved several people jumping on and damaging a Red Bull van, and another in which a male suspect was caught on video repeatedly punching a police officer before fleeing.
That video was circulated widely on social media, and was also featured on the Queen’s Party Life Instagram account.
(Global News reached out to Canadian Party Life for comment about posting potentially illegal activities, but received no response.)
In total, 128 provincial offences were doled out this year — 115 people were charged under the Liquor License Act, nine for Bylaw violations and four under the Highway Traffic Act.
It was much more than last year’s festivities, which saw a total of 85 provincial offences.
But it seems 2017 was the year to beat, with a total of 330 provincial offences handed out.
The dip between 2017 and 2018 may have something to do with the city’s implementation of the nuisance bylaw in 2018, which, if charged, would force the person to pay for the tickets in court, whether they are from Kingston or not.
Nevertheless, only eight people were charged under the bylaw this year. Even fewer — only three — were ticketed under the new bylaw in 2017.
As for what Queen’s students think about Homecoming celebrations, for most interviewed on Wednesday, destruction and dangerous activity during this week’s Homecoming was par for the course.
“I think that’s sort of a staple for homecoming,” said Queen’s University student and Aberdeen Street resident Matt Bradley.
“I don’t think it’s foreign to this year but again, it does get super crazy and wild and there’s a lot of destruction, which is unfortunate. But again, that’s the way she goes.”
Bradley did say that he feels “a few bad apples” are tarnishing the reputation of most Queen’s students who don’t engage in any criminal activity.
Jackie Marson, who has seen two Queen’s Homecomings so far, says she does feel like the past two street parties have been very wild, but she also believes the effect of the partying is more pronounced because everyone is able to film and share these moments on social media.
“I’m just noticing more people are filming these wild things, like making it their Snapchat stories, everyone is seeing it. And now there’s Instagram’s, like Queens Party Life and all this stuff that are posting these videos. So we have more access to it,” Marson said.