EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) _ 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.
Laura Stylez of the Hot 97 morning show criticized those who threw bottles at police, and DJ Ebro Darden said Monday that fans shouldn’t have tried to jump the fence to get inside the venue.
“You cannot throw bottles at police,” Stylez said on air Monday. “What is wrong with you?”
“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.”
Additional officers were sent for “crowd control” and arrests were made, a police spokesman, Sgt. Gregory Williams, told The Associated Press. State police didn’t release details about what measures they used to disperse the crowd or the number of people arrested. A spokeswoman said more information will be released later Monday.
The disturbance began when crowds of people tried to “illegally” force their way into the sold-out event by climbing over fences and forcing their way through security, state police said Sunday night. Police said they insisted everyone outside the gate leave the stadium complex to avoid congestion when the concert ended.
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. 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.
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.
Associated Press writer Nicki Mayo, in Washington, D.C., contributed to this story.