Northeast

Crowd chaos at New Jersey hip hop concert venue leads to arrests

Crowd tried to force their way into sold-out concert

 

A crowd of people without tickets attempting to get into a sold-out concert at MetLife Stadium resulted in 61 arrests late Sunday, New Jersey State Police said.

The Asbury Park Press reported that the disturbance began with an altercation between concertgoers outside the Hot 97 Summer Jam at around 7 p.m. That prompted security officials to close the gates to the event, creating a logjam of around 1,000 people. The paper reported that metal barriers were toppled and bottles were thrown at the police.

Ten New Jersey state troopers were injured during the clash. Officials say the troopers' injuries were minor.

New Jersey State Police said in a statement that crowds of people were trying to "illegally" force their way into the sold out event by climbing over fences and forcing their way through security.

An armored state police vehicle responded to the disturbance by blasting a piercing loud noise to try to disperse the crowd. Police later deployed tear gas and the crowd dispersed around 10 p.m.

Police say those arrested face charges including assault, trespassing, weapons possession and soliciting without a permit. Most were charged with disorderly behavior.

Police said they insisted that everyone outside of the gate leave the stadium complex to avoid congestion when the concert ended.

Videos and photos posted by people outside of the stadium on social media showed fights between concertgoers and police in riot gear blocking the entrance. Images also showed police using large military-style vehicles to try to disperse the crowds.

The major concert is hosted annually by Hot 97, a New York hip-hop and R&B radio station and was headlined Sunday by Kendrick Lamar, Trey Songz, Big Sean and Chris Brown.

On Monday, Laura Stylez of the Hot 97 morning show criticized the people who threw bottles during the incident. DJ Ebro Darden said Monday that fans also shouldn't have tried to jump the fence to get inside the venue.

Janae Griffin, who drove up from Baltimore for the concert but wasn't able to get inside, said the parking lots outside MetLife Stadium were chaotic.

"People were throwing bottles across the crowd," she said. "We got into a confrontation with a guy who was deliberately trying to vandalize a police car and was just making it worse of a situation than it needed to be."

Emmis New York, which owns Hot 97, said in a statement that refunds will be offered for ticket holders whose tickets were not scanned. They said the concert sold out Sunday evening and that "a small number of people created an unsafe environment, and for the safety of all guests, the New Jersey State Police were on scene to disperse the crowd." The gates to get inside were then closed and no one else was allowed in.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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