53rd Mifflin Street Block Party prompts concerns about safety, future of party

Annual block party included stolen gun, 44 arrests, multiple battery charges

· May 1, 2023 Tweet

Riley Steinbrenner/The Badger Herald

University of Wisconsin students gathered on Mifflin Street Saturday April 29 for the annual Mifflin Street Block Party.

The Central District of the Madison Police Department held a press conference Monday afternoon to discuss the aftermath of the party.

According to Central District Captain of Police Michael Hanson, there was an estimated 10,000 attendees throughout the day, with over 200 officers policing the event. By 6 p.m. Saturday, there were 44 arrests — most of which were alcohol related offenses.

“We felt anecdotally the crowd was increased this year, for whatever reason, it felt like there was more people out there.” Hanson said. “We also felt that there was a higher level of intoxication. This year more people seemed to be consuming more and we blame that on a number of things.”

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Hanson pointed to the larger crowd size and a large number of people carrying borgs, which stands for blackout rage gallon, according to Hanson. According to CBS, borg is created by emptying part of a gallon jug of water to make room for alcohol, usually vodka. Then, water flavoring is added to the mixture to dilute the taste of alcohol. One team of officers emptied 74 borgs alone.

At the 2023 party, there were 13 noise complaints and 17 overcrowding complaints. MPD said they received many calls to kick strangers out of people’s homes on Mifflin Street.

University of Wisconsin football team wide-receiver Markus Allen was among the arrested. According to MPD, Allen was arrested for possession of a firearm — which was later discovered to be stolen — and possible intoxication charges. MPD referred charges related to alcohol and carrying a concealed weapon to the District Attorney’s office.

His status on the team is still under review, with his court hearing on June 26 according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

 The Madison Police Department expressed concern about the annual event. In 2021, at least two car windshields were smashed by partiers at the Mifflin Street Block Party. In 2022, rotting wood caused a second-story balcony to collapse, injuring three people and hospitalizing two.

This year, MPD said a nurse was kicked in the head by a student who was going to detox and an officer suffered a minor shoulder injury.

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“None of us can understand what is special about intoxication, the assaults that happen, the injuries that happen, people climbing trees and touching power lines, a nurse getting kicked in the head, all to celebrate a day that is no longer about a Vietnam protest,” Hanson said.

According to Hanson, MPD and the city are hoping to finally put an end to the event.

Next year they are looking for new ways to partner and collaborate with UWPD, UW, landlords and city officials to try and end the event or at least make it less attractive.


This article was published May 1, 2023 at 9:46 pm and last updated May 1, 2023 at 9:46 pm


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