EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. » Radio hosts from the New York station that sponsored a major hip-hop concert where crowds clashed with police Sunday night condemned the unruly fans on Monday, some of whom threw bottles or tried to climb a fence to get in without tickets.
New Jersey State Police in riot gear blocked gates outside the Hot 97 Summer Jam at MetLife Stadium after officials said angry people tried to push their way inside, including some who did have tickets. An armored state police vehicle later began blasting a loud, piercing noise to try to disperse the crowd, and then police fired tear gas canisters.
Sixty-one people were arrested on charges including disorderly behavior, assault, trespassing and weapons possession, and 10 troopers suffered minor injuries, the New Jersey State Police said Monday.
“A small group of highly disruptive people ruined this concert for many others. They created a danger to ticket-holders, stadium employees and troopers on the scene. Our troopers took the appropriate steps to restore order to what was a brief and volatile situation,” Colonel Rick Fuentes, superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, said in a statement.
DJ Ebro Darden of the Hot 97 morning show said Monday that fans shouldn’t have tried to jump the fence to get inside the venue.
“We feel disappointed by the activity of a small group of people that really turned it into something it didn’t have to be, which was chaos,” Darden told WPIX-TV. “There were tens of thousands of people inside who had a great time. … We’re not going to allow a few people to jump fences, be aggressive with the state police and allow the doors to remain open.”
Police said Monday that the majority of the arrests occurred when people tried to climb fences and push past security. The troopers closed the gates to restore order and then briefly reopened them to let people with tickets in, but “they were closed again when non-ticket holders attempted to push their way in,” police said
They said some in the crowd then began throwing bottles and trash at police and security, and additional troopers were called in to assist. Police used noise generators, pepper spray and tear gas to try to get people to clear the area.
Janae Griffin, who drove from Baltimore for the concert but wasn’t able to get inside, said the parking lots outside 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.”
The concert is hosted annually by the radio station and was headlined Sunday by Kendrick Lamar, Trey Songz, Big Sean and Chris Brown.
Emmis New York, the company that owns Hot 97 WQHT-FM, said in a statement that refunds will be offered for ticket holders whose tickets were not scanned.
There have been past incidents between fans and police at shows at the Meadowlands complex, including bottles and CDs being thrown at police after people rushed the gates to try to get into a sold-out show in 1999. A year later, state police used pepper spray on concertgoers who used bolt cutters to try to cut through the fence to get inside.
State police said that 51 people were arrested at last year’s event and that more troopers were on hand Sunday.
Associated Press writer Josh Cornfield, in Trenton, and Nicki Mayo, in Washington, D.C., contributed to this story.
This story has been corrected to show that 10 state troopers were injured. Police originally said eight were hurt.