FORT COLLINS, Colo. - A 24-year-old man accused of inciting a riot at a wild street party in Fort Collins last spring was convicted of the lesser charge of engaging in a riot on Friday.
After deliberating less than a day, a Larimer County jury found Kodi Don Noel guilty of misdemeanor engaging in a riot, which carries a penalty range of three to 12 months in county.
The jury did not find Noel guilty of felony engaging in a riot with a deadly weapon -- for allegedly throwing beer bottles at officers during the melee. That crime carries a sentence of up to six years in prison.
Noel isn't the only one in trouble after an estimated 800 people got out of hand at the late-night party near the Colorado State University campus on April 27. Fourteen other people have been charged in the incident.
Videos and photos on social media websites showed hundreds of young people, including some CSU students, partying on the street, jumping on cars and climbing roofs, lamp posts and trees on Prospect Road and Westbridge Drive.
The two-day trial contained graphic testimony about the tense clash between rioters and vastly out-numbered police.
Fort Collins Police Officer Christopher Tibbets testified that the crowd turned ugly when officers told revelers to disperse.
"It was getting pretty desperate," Tibbets said.
Tibbets testified that as he and roughly a dozen other officers retreated to don riot helmets and shields at a command post, partiers "believed they had won," and pelted them with rocks, bottles and cans. The increasing tension was apparent in a 24-minute officer "body cam" video played in the courtroom.
"We were in no way equipped to handle that size of a crowd. I was scared that this was about to go bad and go bad very quick," said Tibbets testified under questioning from Assistant District Attorney Greg Biggers.
Several times, Biggers admitted that Noel is never seen actually throwing anything at police.
However, in a video recorded by fellow officer Andrew Leslie, Noel is seen drinking beer in the back yard of one of the apartments where the party originated and is recorded on video saying, "You enjoy those (officer video-recording) glasses. You look so f---ing tough."
In the video, the crowd can be heard chanting "F--- police!" repeatedly, along with "I'm proud to be a CSU Ram!"
As the police retreated out of the Westridge Drive apartments to regroup with riot gear, the crowd chanted, "Na-na, na-na. Na-na, na-na. Hey, hey, good bye!" All the while bottles and cans can be seen flying at the officers in the night air.
The police fired pepper balls to hold their ground while fellow officers geared up.
Three people were transported to the hospital for treatment of minor injuries.