The annual Summer Jam concert hosted by Hot 97 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford turned violent Sunday night, as melee broke out between state police in riot gear and an unruly crowd.
There are differing accounts of what caused the scene to become violent. Police claim that crowds of people were climbing over gates illegally, and pushing past security personnel. Other witnesses claim that ticketed concertgoers became agitated when security prevented them from entering in a timely manner.
In any case, troopers used mace and tear gas to try and disperse the agitated crowds, prompting people to throw bottle at police and escalate the situation.
Police and backup closed the gates to the stadium, preventing anyone from entering while they attempted to contain the situation, and delaying the concert.
“People were falling down, trampling onto each other,” concertgoer Jerry Arnold said to CNN. “The concert started at 6 p.m. and at 9 p.m., people still weren’t getting in.”
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“A small group of highly disruptive people ruined this concert for many others,” said Colonel Rick Fuentes, a representative for the New Jersey State Police. “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.”
Gates were ultimately reopened, but were closed again after more non-ticketholders tried to rush inside the stadium. The scene calmed down at around 10:00 p.m., about three hours after things began to escalate.
The concert, featuring performers like Chris Brown, Kendrick Lamar, Trey Songz, and Big Sean, went on despite the situation, and refunds will be issued to ticketholders who were prevented from entering the stadium.
Hot 97’s Ebro, host of “Ebro in the Morning” blamed the troubles on a “few idiots,” extricating
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