Police arrested eight Arkansas State University students after a melee at an impromptu Barack Obama victory celebration near the campus. Three police officers suffered minor injuries.
A female officer's nose was broken when a man jumped on top of her and punched her without provocation, Jonesboro police Capt. Lynn Waterworth said.
About 200 people gathered at an apartment complex about a block away from campus in northeast Arkansas after Obama was declared the winner of the presidential election Tuesday night, Waterworth said. An off-duty officer moonlighting as a security guard for the apartment complex asked those who had gathered to go home, then called for help, she said.
Two on-duty officers arrived at the apartment complex, with the female officer calling to the crowd over her cruiser's public-address system, Waterworth said. The crowd responded by throwing rocks and beer bottles at police, with one man attacking the female officer, Waterworth said.
A distress call summoned more than 40 police officers from surrounding departments and the Arkansas State Police, Waterworth said. One officer suffered a cut to the forehead and another fell to the ground during the scuffle, she said.
"What should have been a happy, celebratory time turned into a bad experience for a lot of folks out there at the hands of a few," Waterworth said.
Julian Smith, 17, a freshman majoring in computer science, said the fight started as officers attempted to break up the celebration, which was already winding down.
In New York City, eight people were arrested and three police officers were injured during one of the city's many impromptu Obama victory celebrations.
Those arrested were part of a crowd of about 450 people that had gathered in a Brooklyn neighborhood, police said.
Five of those arrested were cited for disorderly conduct for blocking a street; two for resisting arrest and obstructing government work; and one for assault .
One officer's thumb was broken and two others suffered minor injuries.