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Chaos and Violence at Free Concert

Fights, Overcrowding Are to Blame

Updated: Wednesday, 16 Jun 2010, 6:11 PM EDT
Published : Tuesday, 15 Jun 2010, 8:27 PM EDT

MYFOXNY.COM - Organizers canceled a free concert by the rapper Drake at South Street Seaport Tuesday night because of way over capacity crowds and unruly behavior. The Canadian rap star never even took the stage.

The evening ended with chairs being thrown into the crowd, mace being sprayed, and reports of  table being tossed from a second floor balcony.

Crowds had begun gathering at 3 p.m. for the evening show, but some fans were unruly and things began to get out of hand, police said. Fistfights broke out and some fans were pushing and shoving each other up against barricades.

Concert organizers expected 10,000 people, but as many as 25,000 fans packed the concert area at South Street Seaport's Pier 17. Seaport management said in a statement that the crowds got so big that the situation wasn't safe anymore.

"While the South Street Seaport and Paper Magazine were looking forward to a great kick-off concert for the summer season, our primary concern is always the safety of our guests," said John Reilly, a spokesman for the seaport. "Unfortunately, by the announced showtime, both the Seaport management and NYPD estimated that the onsite crowd had greatly exceeded this safe capacity, was still rising, and the show could no longer be presented in a safe atmosphere."

Reilly said that seaport management and the police decided to shut down the event and send fans home at about 7 p.m.

Fox 5 News video showed people throwing chairs, stampeding, and pushing and shoving.

One witness reported seeing a table thrown from a second floor restaurant.

A few people were hurt, but their injuries were minor, Fox 5's Anne Craig reported.

The NYPD arrested two people.

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