City Council Criticizes Police Response to Wild Hotel Party

The Cambridge City Council broached the issue of Cambridge police response to underage drinking at loud parties within city limits during its meeting Monday night.

The discussion focused on an incident at the Cambridge Gateway Inn early in the morning of July 5, 2012. Two Cambridge police officers responding to a noise disturbance in a room filled with 30 people found alcohol, marijuana, and three loaded guns.

Some patrons of the party were believed to be consuming alcohol underage.

Despite overwhelming evidence of criminal wrongdoing, the police made no arrests and filed no charges.

According to City Manager Robert W. Healy, officers were only able to clear the room and secure the firearms due to a lack of available backup.

The only city response to the incident was a warning to the Gateway Inn by Cambridge licensing agencies.

“I’m troubled to know that I could have a party at the Gateway, pay cash, supposedly have to identify myself when renting the room to know who was admitted and to have this happen—underage drinking, marijuana, guns—with no consequences,” Councillor Kenneth E. Reeves ’72 said. “It seems that nobody was held accountable, other than the Gateway.”

But Healy adamantly defended the police department’s response.“Well, Councillor, who are we going to charge?” Healy asked.

The Council decided to continue the discussion at the next meeting.

Several transit issues were also discussed, most of which were passed to various subcommittees or future meetings.

The Council supported and passed to a subcommittee the proposed offering of a diminished-rate membership of the Hubway bike sharing program for low-income residents.

The Council also pledged to look into Harvard Square’s tourism industry.

“Harvard Square tourism...we don’t even regulate it,” Councillor David P. Maher said.

Reeves suggested that Harvard be enlisted to help with bus traffic from tourism.

The Council was unanimous in its decision to continue investigating how to optimize the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority services for Cantabrigians.

—Staff writer Matthew Q. Clarida can be clarida@college.harvard.edu.

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