Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Cincinnati Bengals sued by injured woman

CINCINNATI — A woman says two increasingly intoxicated fans at a Cincinnati Bengals game fell on her, breaking her nose and finger and causing other injuries.

The woman and her husband are suing the Bengals, the beer vendor and the county-owned football stadium for negligence, alleging they continued to serve alcohol to "noticeably intoxicated" fans at a 2009 NFL game.

Bengals spokesman Jack Brennan said Tuesday the team wouldn't comment on pending litigation. Neither would the stadium vendor, Philadelphia-based Aramark Corp., company spokeswoman Dave Freireich said. Hamilton County officials didn't immediately return an after-hours phone call Tuesday seeking comment.

Rebecca Dunn and husband Curtis Dunn of Owensboro, Ky., say the two men sitting behind them were served several drinks at Paul Brown Stadium before they fell on her, breaking and gashing her nose, breaking her finger, and causing bruises, sprains and other injuries. Their lawsuit seeks unspecified monetary damages for past and future pain and suffering and medical treatment that they say has cost $20,000 so far.

The couple also are suing the fans, identified only as John Doe and John Doe II. The lawsuit accuses them of battery.

"As a direct and proximate result of their intoxication, (the two men) lost control and fell" on (Rebecca Dunn), causing "catastrophic injuries" that required nose surgery and continuing orthopedic and other medical treatment, the lawsuit says. The incident also broke her $700 Oakley sunglasses and caused the couple to incur other expenses – they had to spend the night in a downtown hotel because the stadium garage closed after the game before they could retrieve their car, the lawsuit states.

The Dunns also are seeking punitive damages. A court hearing on the lawsuit, filed Nov. 29, is scheduled for next month.

The Bengals and other NFL teams have tried to control unruly fans through such efforts as the Bengals "Jerk" line, which fans can call during the game to report bad behavior.

From the Huffington Post.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

No Waffles Please

A fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs has been barred from the Air Canada Centre. The fan who was so upset with his team's performance that he threw waffles onto the ice during a Maple Leaf's game. While the fan's conduct was inappropriate, should he have been banned from the facility forever?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Spectator injury case moves forward

Pickel v. Springfield Stallions, Inc., 398 Ill.App.3d 1063 (Ill. App. Mar. 23, 2010). Plaintiff, a spectator at an indoor-football game, was injured when a player fell over the stands and collided with the plaintiff. The plaintiff brought tort claims not against the player, but as a result of the negligent maintenance and failure to warn spectators of the possibility of injury. The trial court found in favor of the defendants on the grounds that they owed no duty because of the inherent risk involved with watching the football game. The court here, however, agreed with the plaintiff's argument that the precedent for the trial court's decision came from cases wherein the plaintiff was a participant not a spectator. Accordingly, the court determined that the defendants owed a duty to take reasonable action to prevent unreasonable risks of harm. Therefore, the court remanded the case back to the trial court for action consistent with its ruling.

Thus, when a fan is injured, a team/facility would need to show the law as applied to other spectators and what risks they might be willing to take, not what risks a participant accepts.

Case involving injured fan on bleachers

Pryor v. Iberia Parish Sch. Bd., 42 So.3d 1015 (La. App. Jun. 16, 2010). Pryor, an elderly woman, attended her grandson's football game at a stadium operated by the school board. As a result of a defective step in the bleachers, Pryor fell and broke her leg. She brought a tort claim against the school board alleging negligent maintenance of the stadium bleachers. The trial court concluded that while the school board acted negligently in its maintenance of and failure to warn about the defective step, that, on balance, the school board did not act unreasonably. The present court overturned the lower court on the grounds that the trial court, when it determined the reasonableness of the school board's action, considered the bleachers as a whole without examining the specific defect. As a result, the court concluded that not only was the school board negligent, but that it acted unreasonably. The court awarded a total of $300,000 to Pryor for her injuries.

Fan Violence/Stampede

At least 150 injured in stampede after soccer game
By the CNN Wire Staff
December 11, 2010 -- Updated 1910 GMT (0310 HKT)

A government official believes bottle-throwing sparked the stampede.
At least 25 of the injured were police and security officers.
Stampede crushed people against a fence that then broke.

(CNN) -- Jordan is launching an investigation into a stampede after a soccer game that left dozens of people injured Friday night, a government spokesman said.

Deputy Prime Minister Ayman Safadi said the incident occurred after at game at Amman's King Abdallah Stadium.

At least 150 people were injured, and 11 were admitted into various hospitals for treatment, Safadi said. At least 25 of those injured were police and security officers. Three police cars, 8 civil defense cars and other private cars were damaged in the melee.

Safadi said that the incident began when some of the crowd in the upper seating level began throwing bottles at fans of the losing team, who are required by regulations to leave the stadium first to avoid interaction with fans of the other team. Police officers tried to intercede, but a crush of people pushed fans against a fence that eventually broke from the pressure.

Fan Deaths/Injuries

U.S. fan fatalities since 2007


Nov. 28 — A man, 23, died after falling 35 feet from a ledge outside Soldier Field in Chicago and landing on a small roof. The incident was ruled an accident, with speculation being that he stepped onto the ledge to smoke.

Nov. 21 — A 2-year-old boy died after accidentially falling nearly 30 feet from a luxury box at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

April 25 — A man, 51, died three weeks after falling 15 feet over a railing at Miller Park in Milwaukee and landing on the field. He was attempting to catch a foul ball during a game between the Brewers and Chicago Cubs.


April 15 — A man, 36, lost his balance trying to slide down an escalator handrail at Shea Stadium in New York and fell two stories to his death. Another man died in an escalator accident at the same stadium in 1985.

May 21 — A man, 25, died after falling four stories inside Turner Field during a game between the Atlanta Braves and N.Y. Mets. Witnesses said the man was sliding on a handrail when he slipped off .


Dec. 10 — A man, 31, died at Monster Park in San Francisco after falling 20 feet from an upper concourse during a 49ers-Minnesota Vikings game. Witnesses said he tried to jump on a ledge to sit and fell off.

Two fans were seriously injured from falls at Pittsburgh venues in 2009. In August 2009, a 63-year-old man toppled over a railing along the first base line while trying to get a foul ball at a Pirates game. Two months later, on Oct. 18, a Steelers fan fell about 20 feet over an upper-level railing at Heinz during a Steelers game. Both men survived.

In 2010 a toddler fell to his death from a luxury box during a Lakers basketball game Nov. 21 at Staples Center in Los Angeles. A week later, a 23-year-old man died after falling two stories at Soldier Field during a Bears game in Chicago.

Fan Arrests in MA

Chief changing stadium game plan
By Bill Stedman
Published: Thursday, December 9, 2010 10:23 AM EST

After Monday night's game, Foxboro Police Chief Edward O'Leary said he will be making changes in parts of his security plan at Gillette Stadium for the next cold-weather night game, Sunday, Dec. 19, against the Green Bay Packers.

While the New England Patriots were busy putting up 45 points against the rival New York Jets Monday, local police in and around the stadium were taking 112 fans into custody -- 97 placed in protective custody for public intoxication.

State police placed another five people in protective custody and took them to the nearby Foxboro Barracks.

"That's the most for a football game in a long, long time," said a surprised Foxboro Police Chief Edward O'Leary, who is also in charge of police security in the stadium. "We have not had over 100 custodies for a game since I've been chief in 1985."

O'Leary noted that, for a single stadium event held in one evening -- not an all-day concert such as the New England Country Music Festival -- having 80-90 people in custody is a high number.

"I was talking to some key people after the game, and we will have some changes ready for Green Bay in two weeks," O'Leary said. "We will have to cover some things we didn't anticipate."

That includes the fact that almost half of those taken into protective custody, O'Leary said, were picked up during screening as they tried to enter the stadium in a drunken state.

The unexpected number of early custodies swamped the police holding compound at Gillette, run by Sgt. Allan Haskell, and caused backups all night, O'Leary said.

There were still protective custody cases in the compound as late as 2:30 a.m., the chief reported, and police were stilll processing custodies at daybreak at the Public Safety Building.

He attributes the lopsided score (the Patriots won, 45-3) as one reason why many fans lost focus on the field of play and created problems in the stands during the second half.

He also pointed to the evidence of the type of bottles scattered in the parking lots after the game to indicate that many fans arriving in the frigid temperatures were drinking hard liquor while tailgating, rather than beer. "That's a quicker hit (than beer) and changes people's behavior," O'Leary said, noting that he's seen a trend at concerts in particular of more hard alcohol being consumed.

O'Leary said he had an emergency medical technician assigned to the stadium compound to assess those brought in, and that seven highly-impaired fans had to be transported by ambulance to area hospitals. He noted that many of those picked up for intoxication during the game were still drunk in the morning and were "sleeping it off" in the Public Safety Building's holding cells until noon, when they could pass the blood alcohol test and be released.

Many people believe that drinking alcohol helps warm the body, perhaps prompting the added consumption for these winter night games. Monday's temperatures dropped into the low 20s, with a wind chill far below that, and the Dec. 19 game against Green Bay (to be broadcast on NBC) promises similar conditions.

O'Leary worries that, because people are not working Sunday, they will be arriving earlier to tailgate in the parking lots for the Sunday game, and that may increase alcohol abuse.

Criminal arrests

Also Monday night, 15 fans were arrested on criminal charges, including two charged with assaulting a police officer. But O'Leary reported no officers were injured.

David A. Champiney, 58, of 292 Main St. RS, Montgomery, was arrested for assault and battery on a police officer and interfering with the arrest of another person. Sushant Koruru, 29, of 118 Forest St., Stamford, Conn., was charged with assault and battery on a police officer and disorderly conduct.

Of the several fights in the stands during the game, none were serious, he said. Eric Lee Branch, 46, of 112 Plymouth St., Bridgewater, was arrested and charged with assault.

Three persons were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest: William C. Houlihan, 26, 1339 Park St. #2, Attleboro (also charged with malicious destruction of property worth more than $250); Peter J. O'Conner, 46, 274 Sycamore Drive, Holden; and Keith J. Houlihan, 25, 18 Corbin St., Franklin.

Another seven were arrested and charged only with disorderly conduct: Phillip John Tripoli, 25, 11 Thorough Court #8, Natick; Philip D. Martin, 41, 56 Van Horn St., West Springfield; Jonathan Cornell, 28, 233 Kispert Court, Swansea; Ryan A. Vanderstreet, 26, 287 Dorchester St. #2, South Boston; Javier Molina, 22, 96 Urban Ave. #2FL, North Providence, R.I.; Tino M. Cabral, 22, 127 Francis Ave., Pawtucket, R.I.; and Alexander H. Cronin, 23, of 33 Station Drive, Dover, N.H.

There were few arrests in the parking lots before the game, and only one charged with being a minor in possession of alcohol: Samuel Skinner Bacon, 18, of 8 Berkley Place, Cambridge. He was also charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and procurring alcohol for minors.

Ice battle

Injuries and arrests after ice throwing, fights at Apple Cup

By William Dow
December 6, 2010

While the Apple Cup always sparks tension between UW and Washington State University (WSU) fans, ice thrown at the field made the game particularly hostile and dangerous this year in Pullman, Wash.

Thirty-four people were treated at an ambulance on Saturday night and eight were taken to the hospital; it is unclear how many of the 34 were injured from flying ice or from fights. Spectators throwing ice also targeted Semisi Tokolahi, a UW defensive tackle who broke his ankle during the game, while he was being taken off the field on a cart.

Darin Watkins, WSU’s executive director of External Communications, said Sunday afternoon that “dozens” of people were arrested for throwing ice at the game. Watkins said no exact number could be given because the numbers were still being tallied by the police department.

Balls of ice thrown were from sections throughout the stadium, but they originated primarily from two: the section of UW fans in the east end zone and the WSU student section on the north end. Subfreezing day-long temperatures left ice on the ground around seats during game time, which ultimately was thrown at people on the playing surface.

Not surprisingly, the primary targets for the spectators were the fans and staff of the opposing team, including the UW band when they were preparing for the halftime show near the WSU student section and the men carrying the “Cougs!” flags when they would run near the UW section. For the last touchdown, the Cougars’ flaggers didn’t run near the UW section, unlike the first several times.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Car Enters Crowd

Racing car rams into crowd, kills four in Pakistan
By Awais Saleem, Islamabad, Dec 5
A racing event in Pakistan's Rawalpindi city Sunday evening turned tragic when a car lost control and rammed into the crowd, killing at least four people, including the driver, media reports said.

The race had just started when the driver of one of the cars lost control and broke the security barrier to hit the crowd gathered to witnesses the event, Sama TV reported. The driver and three spectators died on the spot while two others were injured, it added.

"The organisers did not take the requisite permission for holding the event," Rawalpindi District Coordination Officer Imdad Bosal said.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Black Friday Give Away

Colorado Mammoth (NLL) players, coaches, dancers, and team mascot treated Black Friday shoppers to hot chocolate and coffee at select Ultimate Electronics stores in the Denver metro area last week. Some of the Mammoth representatives were out as early as 2:00 am to greet early morning shoppers with the hot beverages.

There were several incidents involving shoppers not acting appropriately, and here is one well played video about a shopper acting up at a store.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

NFL safety strategies

A recent article in Security Magazine by Jeffrey Miller of the NFL highlighted some of the recent development they have developed over the past couple years to make games/stadiums safer. the NFL Best Practices for Stadium Security is the guideline used by the NFL for each club to execute inside and outside their stadiums. the guidelines cover facility hardening, electronic monitoring, threat assessment, gate procedures, and other concerns. They supplement the guidelines with unannounced stadium security reviews and give a detailed rating to each club on how well they adhered to the guidelines.

The NFL also developed a Fan Code of Conduct. The code highlights unacceptable conduct for fans as a way to minimize potential problems. The Best Practices for Fan Conduct is supplemented with an independent review of the practices. This is accomplished in part with a fan survey with the results helping to create a rating as well. The text messaging system allowing fans to communicate concerns instantly with security also has been working well and the NFL highlighted receiving 7,299 messages in 2009. This is the Fan Code:

Tweet Patrol in England

In England they are testing a new system where the power of social networking and location broadcasting to make cities safer. The program is called Voice Your View, allows pedestrians to record their opinions about their surrounding via their cell phones or strategically situated kiosks. The data is sorted and shared with city planners and the public via a web page. This information can allow people to help record criminal behavior or other concerns and easily notify a broad range of individuals.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Tragedy in Cambodia

Over 330 die in stampede at Cambodian festival
By SOPHENG CHEANG, Associated Press Sopheng Cheang, Associated Press

.PHNOM PENH, Cambodia – Thousands of people stampeded during a festival in the Cambodian capital Monday night, leaving more than 330 dead and hundreds injured in what the prime minister called the country's biggest tragedy since the 1970s reign of terror by the Khmer Rouge.

Some in the panicky crowd — who were celebrating the end of the rainy season on a sliver of land in a river — tried to flee over a bridge and were crushed underfoot or fell over its sides into the water. A witness who arrived shortly after the stampede described "bodies stacked on bodies" on the bridge as rescuers swarmed the area.

Ambulances raced back and forth between the river and the hospitals for several hours after the stampede. Calmette Hospital, the capital's main medical facility, was filled to capacity with bodies as well as patients, some of whom had to be treated in hallways. Many of the injured appeared to be badly hurt, raising the prospect that the death toll could rise as local hospitals became overwhelmed.

Hours after the chaos, the dead and injured were still being taken away from the scene, while searchers looked for bodies of anyone who might have drowned. An Associated Press reporter saw one body floating in the river, and hundreds of shoes left behind on and around the bridge.

Prime Minister Hun Sen, in his third post-midnight live television broadcast, said that 339 people had been killed and 329 injured. He described the chaos as the biggest tragedy to strike his country since the communist rule of the Khmer Rouge, whose radical policies are blamed for the deaths of 1.7 million people during the 1970s.

He ordered an investigation into the cause of the stampede and declared Thursday would be a national day of mourning. Government ministries were ordered to fly the flag at half-staff.

Authorities had estimated that upward of 2 million people would descend on Phnom Penh for the three-day water festival, which marks the end of the rainy season and whose main attraction is traditional boat races along the river.

The last race ended early Monday evening, the last night of the holiday, and the panic started later on Koh Pich — Diamond Island — a long spit of land wedged in a fork in the river where a concert was being held. It was unclear how many people were on the island to celebrate the holiday, though the area appeared to be packed with people, as were the banks.

Soft drink vendor So Cheata said the trouble began when about 10 people fell unconscious in the press of the crowd. She said that set off a panic, which then turned into a stampede, with many people caught underfoot.

Information Minister Khieu Kanharith gave a similar account of the cause.

Seeking to escape the island, part of the crowd pushed onto a bridge, which also jammed up, with people falling under others and into the water. So Cheata said hundreds of hurt people lay on the ground afterward. Many appeared to be unconscious.

Philip Heijmans, a 27-year-old photographer from Brooklyn, N.Y., who arrived at the scene half-an-hour after the stampede, walked up the bridge to see hundreds of shoes and pieces of clothing, then a body, then more "bodies stacked on bodies."

He counted about 40 in all, with about 200 rescuers in the area. Some Australian firefighters were on the scene_ it wasn't clear why they were in town — who were checking pulses before loading bodies into vans.

Cambodia is one of the region's poorer countries, and has an underdeveloped health system, with hospitals barely able to cope with daily medical demands.

Koh Pich used to host a slum community, but in recent years the poor have been evicted to make way for high-rise and commercial development, most yet to be realized.

Toddler Dies at Staples Center;_ylt=Am2QNVnY1e6kWlfto7gPDke8vLYF?slug=ap-lakers-boyfalls
LOS ANGELES (AP)—A toddler has died after falling 50 feet from a luxury suite at the Los Angeles Lakers game against the Golden State Warriors in the Staples Center arena.

Police Sgt. Frank Alvelais says early Monday that the boy, believed to be 2 or 3 years old, was taken to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, where he died. The boy’s name hasn’t been released.

The boy fell from the third level top tier of the luxury suites several minutes after the Lakers beat the Warriors 117-89 on Sunday night.

Witnesses told the Los Angeles Times the boy was moving his arms, legs and head before paramedics took him out of arena on a stretcher.

Young Fan Policy- England

Everton Football Club has introduced a new policy to protect the safety of our junior supporters.

It has come to the attention of the Club that a small amount of young children are entering the stadium unaccompanied by an adult for the duration of the match or for the hour preceding kick off.

This issue was brought to light by the matchday stewards who are employed for the safety of the crowd.

From 10 November all children of 11 years of age and under attending a fixture at Goodison Park must be accompanied by a responsible adult. The Club also suggests that all other junior ticket holders are accompanied to matches by a responsible adult.

This policy has been introduced purely as a duty of care to our younger fans in the event of a stadium evacuation or a serious incident.

Adam Green, Everton’s Head of Safeguarding, said: “In order to maintain the safety of young patrons, we insist that any person 11 years of age or under be accompanied by a responsible adult at all times.”

Everton is committed to the on-going training of all its 500 matchday stewards to help ensure that children and vulnerable adults who enjoy visiting Goodison Park on a regular basis are safeguarded.
Major-event security a worry, union claims
Sun November 09, 2010

SHONKY operators in the private security industry are failing to provide adequate safety at major events, a union claims.

The Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Union said one-third of security workers who were surveyed either worked for contractors that operated with unsafe staffing levels or knew of companies that did.

The union's state secretary, Jess Walsh, said yesterday up to 40 per cent of Victorian security guards had also reported being assaulted on the job.

"Some of these rogue companies are so understaffed and their guards so undertrained that they can't even protect themselves, so how can they protect the public?" she said.

One security worker with 10 years' experience said he worked at the MCG during a blockbuster AFL match this year and was shocked at the lack of manpower and organisation of the security guards on duty. He claimed patrons could "bring anything into the ground".

"They are putting public safety at jeopardy, they are putting their guards and the public in danger," said the guard, who declined to be named. "They don't have enough numbers to satisfactorily monitor gates and most of the guards I worked with had very little experience."

A representative of the company that runs security at the MCG declined to comment.

The union launches a new code of practice today aimed at driving out shonky operators.

Ms Walsh said the Safeguard Professional Code would identify reputable operators.

Training Parking Attendants

NFL Teams Host Anti-Terrorism Training Sessions for Stadium Parking Professionals
Posted by: Helen Sullivan
From: The International Parking Institute
Date: 11/10/2010

NFL teams are being encouraged to participate in the training in First Observer, a government-funded Department of Homeland Security and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) national security program that uses parking professionals and others as foot soldiers in the war against terrorism.
"First Observer has become a very important initiative for us," explains Shawn Conrad, CAE, Executive Director of the International Parking Institute (IPI), the largest trade association of parking professionals and the parking industry. "There are now close to two thousand First Observer-trained parking professionals and we anticipate that number to grow exponentially over the months ahead." IPI was instrumental in developing the parking-specific First Observer training module and next week will receive TSA's Partner of the Year Award.

According to Jeffrey Miller, the National Football League's director of strategic security programs, "We are eager to provide NFL personnel with access to meaningful training opportunities, and from the positive feedback I've received, the First Observer program fits the bill."

Miller is encouraging all NFL teams to take advantage of this free, government-sponsored training. "We appreciate the foresight of the International Parking Institute in bringing the First Observer program to the attention of the NFL," said Miller. Two teams have already completed training and Miller predicts that many others will be scheduling First Observer training in the months ahead.

Administered by 'Team HMS' and launched earlier this year at the International Parking Institute's annual conference and Expo in Las Vegas, the parking-specific module of the First Observer program is offered classroom style for organizations, online, on site, customized, as well as train-the-trainer sessions. More information on the training is available at IPI's Web site at and organizations that want to schedule a free training session may contact IPI Deputy Director Henry Wallmeyer at or 540.371.7535, ext. 21.

Many program participants are trained by Jeff Beatty, the only American to have served in all three of the nation's most elite counter-terrorism organizations, having served in the military's Delta Force as an assault troop commander, as a special agent advising the FBI Hostage Rescue Team, and as a CIA Counter-terrorism Center case officer in the Europe and the Middle East.

Can a one-night, anti-terrorist training session make a difference? "Yes," explains William Arrington, general manager, Transportation Sector Network Management/Highway and Motor Carrier Division at the Department of Homeland Security, who, along with Beatty, conducts First Observer trainings throughout the United States.

Arrington explains that the training arms parking and other front-line professionals with the skills they need to address five critical security areas: on-street, surface lots, garages/decks, special events and shuttle operations. The training enables these professionals to identify a potential threat, provides background on different terrorist groups and their patterns of operation, gives an overview of weapons, and details case studies of terror situations. First Observers build the skills to report potential situations using a concise, accurate and simple communications process. The program follows the National Preparedness Guidelines of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The Transportation Security Administration this month will honor the International Parking Institute (IPI) with its 2010 Partnership Award for IPI's involvement in developing First Observer's parking-specific training program. IPI is the largest and leading association of parking professionals, and the First Observer program has become an important initiative for the organization.

The recent failed car bomb in a parked car in Times Square and the discovery of the alleged bomber's getaway car in an airport parking lot are vivid reminders that parking professionals are key players on the front lines in the fight against terrorism. With thousands of vehicles entering parking facilities each day and the possibility that any of them could be carrying terrorists or devices made by terrorists, IPI members and partners play a critical role.

IPI's Conrad says: "We look forward to working with other sports teams and stadium managers as we drive home the message that national safety is everyone's responsibility."

According to Conrad, very few members of the public understand the role that parking professionals play in everyday life. He explains: "The front-line parking professional may greet you at the stadium, but a parking consultant probably worked side by side with the stadium architect and the city economic development team to ensure that parking dovetails with facility and area transportation needs."

Monday, November 1, 2010

Avatars to the rescue

SportEvac is creating a program that will populate a model of a facility with thousands of avatars who each have their own individual actions to test emergency exiting during various scenarios. The system would allow programmers to set the parameters and then see how people might actually respond.

Euro 2012

What will happen with Serb supporters? Whether they are protesting the government or EU candidacy, there is no excuse for their fans acting so poorly. If If the UEFA wants to really set an example, the team could be excluded from moving forward. Such a stiff penalty will help show other hooligans that if they cause problems, their teams are going to be punished.

Halloween in Madison

Halloween celebrations in Madison, Wisconsin have been extremely dangerous. In 2006 450 people were arrested and there was $350,000 spent on policing to protect the crowd and private property. The party would draw close to 200,000 revelers and they would end up smashing windows, looting, setting fires, etc... all in the name of fun. The Mayor turned the event into Freakfest and closed off the main street. They charged party goers $5 each, limited the number to 80,000 and had a budget of $400,000 for the event (80% dedicated to security). The event has evolved and is not as dynamic as it was before the corporate and government involvement. However, the number of arrests and amount of damage has been significantly decreased. Arrests in 2009 were down 89% from 2005 numbers. Thus, while some might complain government sold out the event to corporate marketers, the key is there are fewer injuries, the crowd is more contained, and there are fewer arrests. All around a better choice in my book.

Sneaking into stadium in the open

Sometimes coming right in is the easiest way to avoid a security program.

National Guardsman Sneaks Into Michigan Football Game Carrying Two Rifles
by Ian Casselberry • Oct 23, 2010 3:08 PM EDT

It might be a good thing that the Michigan football team doesn't have another home game until November 6, because the security staff at Michigan Stadium apparently has some details to work out.

A National Guardsman was able to make his way onto the field during the Michigan-Michigan State on October 9 packing two M-16 assault rifles. Security let the 42-year-old man into the stadium, presumably believing he was part of the honor guard that raises and lowers the flag in the south end zone. He did not have a ticket to the game.

The man's weapons were checked, however, and found to have no ammunition. He gained access to the field through the stadium tunnel.

A member of the honor guard noticed the man's presence on the field and notified campus police that he was not a part of their group. Police then questioned him and escorted him out of the stadium.

U-M police spokeswoman Diane Brown said the man admitted he used his uniform (and a military vehicle) to gain access to the game.

A similar incident happened the prior week in Lousiville.
Saturday U of L game against Connecticut first use of stadium since security breach
by Mike Colombo
Posted on October 23, 2010 at 7:58 PM
•Police: Two men get onto field during U of L football game, one with a gun

(WHAS11) Saturday marked the first game at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium since two men dressed in security uniforms, one of them armed with a gun, snuck onto the field during last week’s U of L and Cincinnati football game.

The men were quickly spotted and arrested, but has the incident changed security at the stadium?

There is definitely real security at the stadium now, since two men who dressed the part were able to get in and down to the field. The university said the incident has brought heightened awareness to security.

The way fans were filing in to the stadium Saturday for the Connecticut game, is the same way Elgin Bullock and Chris Scheitlin entered last Friday night’s game. Police said the two men were dressed as security guards, complete with handcuffs and one of the men even wearing a holster with a loaded gun attached. One of the men arrested actually owns his own security company.

When questioned by police, the men said they had contracts with U of L and were working security for the game a lie that got the men arrested and charged with criminal trespassing. The incident, however, is bringing a new sense of vigilance to U of L game security.

Associate Athletic Director Kenny Klein said that for each game, security, both uniformed and undercover, from LMPD, the state police and campus police are used to insure safety and security on the field and in the stands. He said the incident hasn’t resulted in a security overhaul, but definitely a closer attention to detail. “We have a lot of security measures in place and this probably gives us another check to be prepared for,” said Klein. “There’s certainly a heightened awareness given that situation happened.”

Stadium attack stopped in Yemen

Security forces say they thwarted a bomb attack in southern Yemen
By Mohammed Jamjoom, CNN
The attack was to target a sports stadium
A regional soccer tournament is set to take place at the stadium next month
Yemeni officials insist the country is ready to host the competition
(CNN) -- Yemeni security forces have thwarted a plan to bomb a sports stadium in the southern city of Aden, scheduled to host the Gulf Cup soccer tournament next month, officials said Sunday.

Aden Security Chief, Brigadier-General Abdullah Giran said a suspected member of a separatist movement was caught placing a bag that contained about 1,800 grams of dynamite in the vicinity of Al-Wahdah stadium.

Giran declined to say when the incident took place.

The Gulf Cup soccer tournament, scheduled to start November 22 and run through early December, will host teams from Iraq, Yemen and six Gulf States.

The Yemeni government is eager to show it can maintain order as several of its neighbors have voiced concern the country might not be secure enough to host the competition.

Ahmed al Eisi, head of the Yemeni Football Association, is touring the region to invite sports ministers to attend the opening of the games, according to Saba, Yemen's official news agency.

"He affirmed all stadiums and facilities are ready for the championship, and the trip aims to kill all doubts and bids about the possibility that Yemen will be unable to host the championship," Saba said.

Also Sunday, a hearing was held in Aden for five suspects accused of blowing up explosives in a sports center, according to the news agency. It was not immediately clear when the attack, which Saba said killed four people, took place.

Yemen has become a key battleground for al Qaeda since a local affiliate calling itself al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula was established in 2009.

Over the weekend, security forces there swept into Shabwa province, a region thought to be a haven for al Qaeda. More than 1,000 soldiers and security officials were reported to be involved in the operation.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Can't Duck Problems with Fans

The following article highlights that even a pre-game show broadcast can generate a crowd and crowd management problems.
Oregon football: It's bedlam on GameDay at Autzen Stadium |
Fans provide a raucous backdrop for ESPN’s live college football show
By Ron Bellamy

The Register-Guard

Appeared in print: Sunday, Oct 3, 2010


The scene was, well, just ducky as ESPN College GameDay analyst Lee Corso donned the Duck head Saturday morning, embraced the Oregon Duck mascot, tried to join him in a push-up — not easy, wearing a Duck head — and was carried away on the shoulders of Duck cheerleaders.

For the fifth time in as many GameDay appearances in Eugene, Corso predicted an Oregon victory, and for the fifth time those associated with the production praised the enthusiasm and the “passion” of an estimated 3,200 Oregon fans who turned out before dawn.

However, that enthusiasm became dangerous when waiting spectators — some of whom had been in line since Friday evening, others since the wee hours of Saturday morning — pushed forward behind the permanent gates between the Casanova Center and Autzen Stadium around 3:15 a.m., breaking through to get to the set area in the Cas Center parking lot.

In a crush that was described as “scary,” several spectators fell, others were pinned against restraining barriers and a spectator in a wheelchair suffered an apparent hand injury and had his wheelchair “trashed.”

“The chants kept getting louder and more often and then people busted through the gate and it was like a madhouse,” said Jordan Schmidt, an 18-year-old Sheldon student who’d been waiting in line since 8:30 p.m. Friday with another Sheldon student, Eric Levine.

“I left the ground for about 90 seconds,” Levine said. “My feet didn’t touch the ground.”

The spectator in the wheelchair, 31-year-old Joshua Slonecker of Eugene, said he “got smashed into the fence by however many thousands of drunk college students rushing to get in here.”

Slonecker said he was spun around “three different times” in his wheelchair, but kept from falling out by grabbing the fence “or I would have gotten trampled.” One wheel of his chair was damaged — UO officials found Slonecker another wheelchair so he could watch the show — and Slonecker said paramedics told him he might have a hairline fracture of his ring finger.

Vicki Strand, UO director of athletic events services, said the melee forced security officials to open restraining barriers about an hour ahead of schedule.

“We made the decision that it was safer to get people where they were going than try to hold them back,” she said. Strand said some fans suffered minor injuries, but none requiring an ambulance to be called.

Even before the show started at 6 a.m., the assembled fans were revved and enthusiastic.

“We’ve been here five times now, and at other places that are regular stops on the tour there is a concern about complacency,” GameDay anchor Chris Fowler said afterward. “Are they going to get pumped up? Is the student body going to feel that the attraction has worn off?

“We did not have to worry about that in Eugene. The fact that people showed up so early, hours and hours before the show, was very flattering, and it really says more about their passion for their team and this program and their school than just seeing people do a TV show. I think it’s reflective of the spirit here.”

In the throng, fans held up signs that extolled the Ducks, mocked Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck — “Luck be a lady tonight” — and took shots at former Oregon quarterback Jeremiah Masoli. Read one sign: “Masoli stole my other sign.” When the big screen showed a clip of Masoli, now at Ole Miss, warming up for Saturday’s game against Kentucky, students began chanting “Where’s my laptop?”

Although Oregon coach Chip Kelly made another appearance — in a business suit for an on-set interview, rather than popping out from under the Duck head like last year — the star of the show was arguably the Duck mascot, whose antics at one point caused analyst Kirk Herbstreit to quack up, as it were.

“The Duck’s awesome,” Fowler said. “The Duck is what a college mascot should be. He’s creative, he’s fun, puts a lot of thought and energy into his job. ... Of course it’s distracting, but that’s all part of the fun. If we wanted a non-distracting environment we’d stay in a studio.”

Producer Lee Fitting rated the show as “tremendous. I don’t know if it was the early morning, or the mood the guys were in, or the crowd was so passionate. I laughed the entire show. ... This place is always one of our favorite stops and it didn’t disappoint today.

“It’s sort of this eerie, wacky, crazy setting, half in the dark, half out of the dark, the day-glo signs, the passion from the fans, looking for respect from the Pac-10, it’s a great spot.”

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Monkey Business

Plan of the apes: Security officials use langurs

NEW DELHI (AP) - Security officials at the Commonwealth Games aren't monkeying around anymore, deploying langurs at several venues in New Delhi to keep the smaller simians from causing any trouble.

Langurs are a common type of monkey in south Asia, and because they are large and fierce they are often used in India to keep other species in check in public places.

The New Delhi Municipal Council said it will put 10 langurs on duty outside several venues starting Wednesday, but that number will increase in the days leading up to Sunday's opening ceremony.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Parking training program

The following link highlights a new training program designed to help teach parking lot attendants and others how to respond to a national security threat involving transportation vehicles and or locations where cars/vehicles might stop/park. Here is the link:

First Observers become versed in the concise,
accurate and simple ITALK format of reporting
situations to the First Observer Call Center:
1. I= You IDENTIFY yourself and provide
your First Observer ID number if you
have it handy. Also provide a callback
number; in case the call is dropped, the
Call Center can make efforts to reach
back to you and look out for your safety.
2. T= Provide the Call Center with the exact
TIME of your incident observation. This
is critical as it allows the Call Center to
know if the event is happening right now
or happened two days ago.
3. A= Provide the Call Center with a
concise and accurate description of your
observation(s), the ACTIVITY you are
seeing. Give as accurate a description as
you can…make, model, color of vehicles,
tag number … size, shape, approximate
age of people, what they were wearing,
etc. … nature of the activity — unloading
hazardous materials, hooking up trailers
in a vacant lot, breaking into truck cabs or
buildings, etc.
4. L= Provide the Call Center with the
location of the suspicious activity and
also with your physical LOCATION
5. K= Attempt to KEEP observation
without endangering your personal safety
or anybody else’s.
Even when calling 911, the ITALK format
can be useful in effectively describing what
was observed.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Soccer Fan Behaving Badly

UVa soccer fans warned to behave
By Whitelaw Reid
Published: September 22, 2010

The atmosphere at last Saturday’s men’s soccer game between Virginia and Wake Forest seemed like most ACC games. Crowd members, who received free “rally flags” upon entering Klockner Stadium, were energetic and loud throughout.

Some students, however, were apparently a little too rambunctious during UVa’s 1-0 loss.

On Wednesday, Virginia athletic director Craig Littlepage sent an e-mail to a group of UVa students, admonishing them for their behavior. According to the e-mail, a copy of which was obtained by The Daily Progress, the students used vulgar language, which included negative references to members of the Wake Forest team.

“The language was so offensive that fans around them chose to leave the game early and they are reconsidering whether they will return for future contests at UVa,” Littlepage wrote in the e-mail to those students registered in SHOTS, an online ticketing system that gives priority access to athletic events at the university. “This behavior cannot and will not be tolerated.”

In the e-mail, Littlepage also reminded the students about the school’s sportsmanship policy, which is announced prior to every home game.

“Our students have to remind themselves to be on their best behavior with regards to language and that kind of stuff,” said Virginia coach George Gelnovatch, whose team plays at Clemson on Saturday, “and not let something slip out.”

On the field, the game in question was an extremely physical one. At one point, there was pushing from both sides after a whistle and a fracas nearly ensued. The game was a rematch of last season’s College Cup game won by Virginia.

While he wasn’t exactly studying the crowd, Gelnovatch said he didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary during the contest.

Typically, the crowd for a game is comprised of two groups of people, according to Gelnovatch.

“We have the community, which is young families and soccer players, including my family, which is part of that group,” Gelnovatch said. “I have a 12- and 13-year-old who are at every game with my wife. Then there’s our students, who have been great supporters of us...

“I don’t know the details that Craig [Littlepage] is referring to, but in our sport — and I would say it’s the same for the lacrosses of the world and some of the other Olympic sports — this is not a stadium where there’s 60,000 people...

“Anything that a fan lets slip out of his mouth is going to be heard by obviously his fellow students, but also by families, whereas in some other venues, like in basketball and football, because of the size and loudness and isolatedness of the students, it’s not as much of an issue...I’m not making excuses, but people have to understand that, and our students have to understand that.”

Saturday, September 25, 2010

discrimination claim for security guards
Security Firm Allegedly Fired Muslim Guard For Wearing Religious Head Scarf, And Threatened Others For Wearing Religious Garments

A Philadelphia-area security company violated federal law when it terminated a security officer for wearing a religious head scarf and threatened to terminate other Muslim employees if they wore religious garments while on duty, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it announced today.

According to the EEOC's suit against Imperial Security, Inc., Julie Holloway-Russell, who is Muslim, wore a religious head covering when the company interviewed and hired her for a part-time security officer position. Imperial Security provides security services for many area companies, including for large shows and events at the Philadelphia convention center. Imperial Security's uniform policy requires employees to wear a white shirt, tie, black pants, a black belt, black socks, and black shoes, and specifically forbids additions to the uniform ". . . for any reason, including religion."

When Holloway reported to her first job assignment at the Philadelphia convention center, in addition to her uniform, she wore a religious head covering, called a khimar, which covered her hair, ears, and neck, as required by her religious beliefs. The EEOC charges that at the end of the shift, the supervisor told Holloway that she was not permitted to wear her khimar while on duty. When she questioned the policy, she was told to remove the khimar. Holloway-Russell declined to remove it and left for the day.

The EEOC alleges that when Holloway-Russell called Imperial Security the next day for her work assignment and discussed her need to wear the religious head scarf, she was advised that she could wear a company-approved baseball cap, but that company policy prohibited her from wearing a khimar. Holloway-Russell was forced to decline because her religious beliefs require wearing the khimar.

The EEOC further charged that Imperial Security has forced a class of Muslim employees to compromise their religious beliefs by removing their khimars while on duty or risk termination. According to the EEOC's suit, Muslim employees have sought modifications to the uniform policy on religious grounds, but Imperial Security refused to reasonably accommodate their religious beliefs.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on religion and requires an employer to reasonably accommodate an employee's religious beliefs unless doing so would pose an undue hardship. The EEOC first attempted to reach a pre-litigation settlement before filing suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Pennsylvania, Civil Action No. 10-04733. The EEOC is seeking back pay, compensatory damages and punitive damages and injunctive relief to prevent future discrimination.

"We filed this suit to protect the rights of all employees and applicants to earn a living without being forced to violate their religious tenets," said Regional Attorney Debra Lawrence of the EEOC's Philadelphia District Office. "Making reasonable accommodations to employees' religious beliefs is not just reasonable – it's required by federal law."

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wall to stop field rushers

New wall at Arizona Stadium aims to corral Zona Zoo fans
Posted: Sep 13, 2010 10:51 AM EDT
By David Gonzalez

TUCSON, AZ (KOLD) - University of Arizona students sitting in the Zona Zoo section at Arizona Stadium will face a new obstacle if they try to rush the field.

A massive concrete wall runs the full length of the field on the eastside of the stadium.

It is 140 yards and seven feet tall.

The wall was built after last year's heart-breaking lost to the Oregon Ducks where Zona Zoo fans prematurely rushed the field in celebration.

Suzy Mason, Associate Athletic Director for Events and Operations, says the new barrier is meant to enhance the safety and security of the stadium.

"I hope it's a deterrent to the field rushes," Mason says. "I hope those are a thing of the past because it was really getting unsafe.

"When you have that many students crushing towards the field, it's difficult to manage," she adds.

The wall will cost Arizona Athletics $140,000.

Students like Drew Jennison say rushing the field after an exciting game is part of being a student.

"It's going to slow them down but if they really want to rush the field, they're going to rush the field," Jennison says. "I mean if that means vaulting over it and dropping seven feet so be it."

Katherine West, a student who was at last year's lost Oregon game says, "it's kind of disappointing because rushing the field is so fun after a big win.

She did learn one lesson from last lost against the Ducks, "the game's not over until the clock hits zero."

Jennison agrees, "once the final whistle is blown, then rush the field, tear down the goal post but not until the final whistle."

New CCTV camera

EU researchers develop camera with human eye ability
[Date: 2010-09-21]

You and another 59,000 people are watching a tense football match in a crowded, rowdy stadium. Your safety depends on a group of people responsible for ensuring your security. But what happens when things get out of control and security guards can't pinpoint the problem? Enter 'Smart Eyes', an EU-funded state-of-the-art camera system with the potential to boost security in public buildings and areas. This special surveillance system acts like a human eye by analysing the recorded data in real time and identifying out of control events and offering key solutions.

The camera is an outcome of the EU-funded SEARISE ('Smart eyes: attending and recognising instances of salient events') project, which has received EUR 2.15 million under the 'Information and communication technologies' (ICT) Theme of the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). According to the SEARISE partners, led by the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology (FIT) in Germany, the automatic camera system can detect, track and categorise salient events and actions.

The Smart Eye system is so similar to the human eye that it can distinguish objects when looking at a scene regardless of the activity around these objects. Video data is assessed in real time, and the camera 'points out salient features', the partners say.

'That is invaluable for video surveillance of public buildings or places,' explains Dr Martina Kolesnik from FIT. 'In certain circumstances the capabilities of a human observer are limited. Ask someone to keep any eye on a certain stand in a football stadium and they are bound to miss many details. That same person can only carefully monitor certain sections of the whole area and will quickly get tired. That's where the Smart Eyes clearly comes into its own.'

The system hardware developed by the SEARISE partners encompasses a fixed surveillance camera capable of covering a specific area and two ultra-active stereo cameras. Just as human eyes fix on and track objects and points quickly and pointedly, the Smart Eyes system can as well.

Launched in 2008, the three-year SEARISE project has built a software system with a hierarchical, modular structure (a computational model of visual processing in the brain) that automatically analyses the image sequence. Identifying each pixel movement, the software helps the system pinpoint particularly active areas in the scene.

According to the team, the system learns motion patterns and stores them as typical models, and then uses the models to identify and classify events. A case in point is that the software can differentiate between active and passive spectators. While the program identifies image patterns like steps or empty seats, it also filters out various objects including flags.

'Our image analysis software is compatible with camera systems produced by all vendors,' Dr Kolesnik says. 'It can be installed easily. The user doesn't have to make any adjustments.'

The Smart Eyes system will be on show for the public at the Security Essen 2010 exhibition from 5 to 8 October. The SEARISE partners are from Germany, France, Italy and the UK.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Chicago bomb plot near stadium
Chicago man arrested in bomb plot
By Jeremy Gorner

Andy Grimm / Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO &- A Chicago man has been charged with plotting to bomb a strip of crowded night spots around the time people were leaving a Dave Matthews concert at Wrigley Field over the weekend.

Sami Samir Hassoun, 22, was arrested as he placed a backpack containing what he thought were high-explosives in a trash can in front of Sluggers, about a block south of Wrigley Field, according to the FBI.

Houssoun had also discussed other violent plots in Chicago, including a biological attack on the city, poisoning Lake Michigan, attacking police officers, bombing the Willis Tower and assassinating Mayor Richard Daley, the FBI said.

But he is so far charged only with attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and attempted use of an explosive device in connection with the attempted bombing near Wrigley Field. The FBI said there was no indication any foreign or domestic terror group was connected to the plot.

Hassoun, who is a Lebanese citizen and a permanent resident alien, told an associate in June that he wanted to commit acts of violence to make money and cause political transformation in Chicago, the FBI said.

Unknown to Hassoun, his associate was secretly cooperating with the FBI, the agency said.

Throughout the summer, he allegedly discussed with the associate the violent plots, but eventually selected the Wrigleyville neighborhood of Chicago as his target, utilizing an explosive device which he would detonate on a weekend night to inflict maximum damage, the FBI stated.

In July, the associate introduced Hassoun to an undercover federal agent who claimed he was from California and had access to explosives. While meeting with the agent, Hassoun discussed several plots and scenarios that would make a dramatic impact on Chicago and force Daley to resign, the FBI stated.

Hassoun eventually settled on a bombing outside a strip of Wrigleyville bars and nightclubs, the FBI said.

On Saturday night, Hassoun met with the agent, who provided him with a backpack that Hassoun thought contained high-powered explosives, according to the FBI. The agent showed Hassoun how it worked, though it reality it was made of inert materials and unable to explode, the agency said.

Early Sunday morning, Hassoun and the agent went in a rented vehicle toward Wrigleyville as crowds were leaving Wrigley Field after a concert by the Dave Matthews Band, the FBI said.

As agents watched, Hassoun placed the fake explosive into a trash container, the FBI said. He was arrested and the fake device was recovered.

At no time was the public in danger during this investigation, the FBI said. There was no indication that any foreign or domestic terror groups were in any way connected to this plot.

Hassoun faces five years to life in prison.

Bleacher Collapse in Brazil

The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Brazil bleacher collapse at car race injures 111 people, 22 in critical state
By: The Associated Press

20/09/2010 11:34 AM

BRASILIA, Brazil - Brazilian authorities say more than 100 people have been injured after a section of bleachers collapsed at a car race.

Firefighters say Monday at least 111 people were hurt — 22 critically. They have been taken to hospitals after the accident in Brazil's southern Parana state.

At least 500 people were sitting in the section of bleachers that collapsed Sunday.

Authorities say they think the bleachers had structural faults that caused the collapse. But a police investigation must end before a definite cause can be determined.

Here is a Youtube video of the event:

Another fan field rush

Matt Diaz does Philly fan a favor with safe, but effective trip
By 'Duk

Big League Stew ShareretweetEmailTue Sep 21 06:02am PDT

Matt Diaz does Philly fan a favor with safe, but effective trip
By 'Duk

Atlanta Braves left fielder Matt Diaz(notes) may have looked like a cold-blooded UFC champ when he expertly swept the leg of this trespassing Philadelphia Phillies fan on Monday night.

But Diaz said he actually had the best interests of the generic Spider-man in mind when doing the only stopping by a Brave in the seventh inning of a key 3-1 loss to the Phillies.

From the Associated Press:

"I saw this idiot coming right at me," Diaz said. "I figured he'd be better off getting tripped than Tased."

It sounds like the reputation of Citizens Bank Ballpark security may have preceded itself with Diaz. There was the highly-publicized Taser incident with a young fan earlier this season and then that dude in the funny pants who was apprehended a day or so later.

It's worth noting that this romp probably wouldn't have gone high-voltage now that it's the sole responsibility of ballpark security — and not the packing Philadelphia police — to catch wayward fans and then hand them over.

But given that security looked like the Eagles defense, it's a good thing that Diaz decided to intervene. Otherwise Red-Man might've run on and on like that one Orioles fan.

Broken bat injury

Cubs' Tyler Colvin hospitalized after broken bat punctures chest
By David Brown

Check out the flying object heading toward the chest of Chicago Cubs rookie Tyler Colvin(notes) on Sunday afternoon. As the frightening screen capture provided by Keith Olbermann (of all people) shows, Colvin's upper left chest was punctured by a flying piece of Welington Castillo's(notes) bat as Colvin came home from third to score on a double.

If the term "impaled" doesn't do the job by itself, the aftermath makes for one of the scariest baseball injuries in recent memory. Colvin needed to be hospitalized because of a wound described as "fairly deep." Sutures helped to close the wound and a tube was inserted into Colvin's lung to prevent it from collapsing.

The good news is that Colvin is going to be fine, but the bad news is that his promising rookie season is over. Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune reports that Colvin will remain in the hospital for a few days for observation and won't play for the next two weeks.

As 'Duk writes in another Big League Stew post, this incident is sure to intensify the debate over baseball's use of maple bats. They're the villain du jour in the sport — with plenty of reason — and though Castillo's bat looks like ash, it's actually made of Canadian maple.
Imagine if the bat went into the stands and hit a patron who was not paying attention?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Fans arrested at music festival
Country record for 2010 festival

Total custodies top last year's record
By Bill Stedman
Published: Thursday, August 26, 2010 1:43 PM EDT
Shortly after 9 p.m. on Saturday, Foxboro Police Chief Edward O'Leary was feeling a bit hopeful that the 2010 edition of the annual New England Country Music Festival at Gillette Stadium would not rival last year's event, where a record 287 concert-goers were taken into custody by Foxboro and other town police officers on stadium security details.

Shortly after 11:30 p.m., his hopes were dashed when the final festival fan was taken into custody for this year.

Despite fewer country music lovers in attendance, the number of people his force had taken into police custody for criminal acts and public intoxication in and around the stadium had reached a record 318, according to Foxboro police arrest logs.

Adding the 47 persons taken into custody by state police along Route 1, the grand total of 365 beats last year's record by 29.

State police arrested 26 people and took 21 into protective custody, according to Lt. Jeffrey Stuart, commander of the Foxboro State Police barracks on Route 1. Most of the arrests were for possession of alcohol by a minor, assault and battery and disorderly conduct, he said.

O'Leary, who is also head of security for stadium events, said some things went better than expected on Saturday, such as fewer minors arrested for possession of alcohol, while others didn't. He would not make an overall statement about the event, or its future in Foxboro, when asked Monday.

"I don't want to make that assessment right now," he said. "I want to look at the logs and thoughtfully review all reports with my staff and stadium personnel."

While he wasn't happy that the number of intoxicated festival-goers taken into protective custody rose by 26 from last year, he was relieved there were no serious incidents overall.

"No one was killed," he said. "And none of my officers was injured. They all got home safe."

Gillette Stadium officials praised the work of local and state security and medical personnel in keeping festival-goers safe throughout the afternoon and evening.

"We were pleased with the effectiveness of the plan developed by Chief O'Leary, Chief (Roger) Hatfield and Lt. Stuart," said Dan Murphy, Gillette Stadium Vice President of Business Development and External Affairs. "The work of the Foxboro Police, Foxboro Fire Department and state police allowed the vast majority of more than 50,000 concert goers to have a safe and enjoyable experience."

Crime down, drunks up

Of the 318 picked up by local police, 75 were arrested and face criminal charges (down from 90 last year) while 223 were determined to be so intoxicated as to pose a risk to themselves or others and taken into protective custody. That latter number is up from 197 in 2009.

There were 53 minors under the legal drinking age of 21 taken into protective custody, including seven juveniles ages 15-16.

Of the 75 criminal charges, the majority -- 48 -- were for possession of alcohol by a minor. The good news for O'Leary is that this number is down by 20 from the 2009 festival.

O'Leary said that last year, most of those taken into custody were picked up in the parking lots, as a result of excessive tailgating before fans entered the stadium for the actual concert. He estimated that only 11 or so were taken into custody from inside the stadium in 2009.

This year, however, "there were significantly more people taken into custody during the event," he said. "It just didn't stop ... we continued to pick up people throughout the night."

O'Leary's staff was making custodies during a nearly 12-hour period, causing numerous van trips between the stadium and the Public Safety Building on Chestnut Street, where police set up a temporary holding area in the back of the station reserved only for protective custody cases.

"That was a godsend," said O'Leary. "If we didn't have it, we would have had an extremely dangerous situation where we would have had to mix the criminal arrests with the many who were alcohol-impaired."

Even with the more-streamlined system for handling the drunken fans, which included bypassing the stadium holding areas for protective custodie cases by taking them directly to the Foxboro station, O'Leary said there were still some delays in processing those in custody. That caused some of those who were waiting to pick up friends and relatives in custody at the stadium and the police station to voice their frustrations to police.

"The processing back-up was due to the sheer volume," O'Leary said, explaining that it takes at least 7-8 minutes to process each prisoner, whether criminal or protective custody.

"It's like being in the deli line on July 3 with a big order -- it's going to take a while before you get your potato salad."

Less heat

O'Leary had hoped that the cooler weather this year and a smaller attendance, which he estimated at around 47,000 actually going through the gates, would result in a calmer event than last year's festival, when sun and 90-degree temperatures seemed to foster more than the usual amount of binge drinking.

In addition, the parking lots were not opened around the stadium until 2 p.m., as designated, and early arrivals were sent into a lot across the street at a cost of $60 and told to wait in their cars. Tailgating was prohibited until 2 p.m., and some alcohol spotted in the open before then was confiscated by stadium personnel and the state police officers who are in charge of the parking areas across Route 1 from the stadium.

Last year, the lots opened at 1 p.m., as that concert started an hour earlier. As a result, many arrests were made before fans were checked at the entrance to the stadium. And last year saw many more minors arrested in the parking lots.

This year, O'Leary said, there were more calls for police during the concert, headlined by country-western star Brad Paisley, inside the stadium.

"We received a lot of calls from stadium security personnel to have us do sobriety checks," the chief said of the many intoxicated fans. "And requests for officers to come to disturbances in the seats."

He added that police weren't looking for intoxicated persons ... "They find us."

The chief himself took one man into protective custody while leaving the upper (300) level after checking that the beer concessions had been closed for the night.

"A woman came up to me and said she saw someone staggering who looked like he was going to tip over," O'Leary related. "I checked him and he said he was just going back to his seat."

But when O'Leary looked at the man's ticket as he started to stagger off, he saw that his seat was actually way down in the lower (100) level.

"So I took him into protective custody and had to half-carry him to other officers," he said.


Of the 73 criminal arrests made by local police, seven included assault charges. Two were charged with assaulting police officers and one with assaulting a public safety official.

No serious injuries were reported.

After a chase involving state police K-9 units assisted by a state police helicopter, three Walpole teenagers were arrested for breaking into vehicles and and for possession of alcohol. The youths had fled into the woods behind the parking lot across Route 1 from the stadium, police said.

Staff reporter Frank Mortimer contributed to this story.

Football fans to fanatic?

Posted on Sat, Aug. 28, 2010 10:15 PM

Some football fans get a little too fanatical

DAVID EULITT/The Kansas City Sta
Are rowdy Chiefs fans just a part of the experience at Arrowhead Stadium, or do they sometimes cross the line? More News
Haley expects to be more Jekyll and less Hyde this year Chiefs are trying to build with character Weis as an assistant coach might be a great thing for the Chiefs Jones gives Chiefs more than just running ability How players motivate themselves Some football fans get a little too fanatical Chiefs’ 2010 schedule John Benson decided that if this was the Arrowhead Stadium experience, then it just isn’t worth it.

Benson, an Olathe resident, says that two years ago he took his young sons to a Chiefs exhibition game. It was bad enough that it rained, and then a handful of rowdy fans began displaying how much they’d had to drink. Benson says they were smoking and cursing, and he had to tell his sons, ages 7 and 11, that not all fans behave this way.

“It’s hard to explain,” says Benson, 48. “It was just terrible.”

He says he won’t be back — not unless he is assured that things have changed.

Arrowhead has been known for years as one of America’s liveliest venues to watch football. The sea of red, and all that passion with a fan base that lives and dies with every play. But at Arrowhead, the same as anywhere, the venue is only as enjoyable as the people who congregate inside it.

As sports fans get rowdier and ticket prices rise, those who pay their way in expect a total outlet. Chiefs Sundays are sacred, and one fan’s charms are another’s turnoffs.

“That Sunday is what you live for,” Benson says. “But you shouldn’t have to worry about who’s sitting around you and who might throw up on you. I can’t subject my kids to that.”

Thomas Joiner is a psychology professor at Florida State University, and he has studied sports fans’ behavior. He says that there has been a gradual “loosening of control” in many football stadiums, and as some fans get louder, drunker and more profane, there’s another group that just won’t subject themselves to something that’s supposed to be fun.

“There’s an element of cutting loose and blowing off steam,” Joiner says. “Those scenes are not for everybody.”

Joiner tells a story about a medieval tradition in a religious village. On occasion, the villagers would gather in a sacred location. The clerics, commoners and priests all drank themselves silly and acted like maniacs, because they believed it helped them deal with the rigors of life.

Joiner says that sounds a lot like today’s football stadiums, when people from various races, genders and socioeconomic backgrounds dress alike for one day a week and leave reality at home.

Joiner even says there’s a correlation between gathering at sporting events and a reduction in the suicide rates, because there’s relief in joining like-minded fans, even if the team is dreadful.

Jeff Mann lives in Kansas City, North, and says he can understand that feeling of belonging. He’s a 20-year Chiefs season-ticket holder, and he says his section has become something like a community. Like in a strong neighborhood, the regulars keep the riffraff at bay.

“There’s an element of fans there that are newer to the stadium,” he says, “who don’t know protocol, who don’t go to many games. You get that new fan out there who’s quicker to drop an F-bomb or get rowdy. Fans around them do a good job to say ‘knock it off.’ ”

Even so, Mann has seen Arrowhead when it shows its teeth. He’s used the stadium’s system of reporting misbehavior via an anonymous text-message line, which alerts authorities of bothersome fans and identifying their whereabouts. Mann says he witnessed a brawl in the parking lot last season, when one group of Chiefs fans fought with another after a loss to Oakland.

“Chief-on-Chief crime,” he says, and it’s amusing until he recounts the fight, in which one man suffered a broken bone in his face and another separated his shoulder.

Rich Lockhart is a spokesman for the Kansas City Police Department, and he says there’s a thick police presence dispatched each Sunday in the vicinity of Arrowhead. That’s in addition to off-duty police who work security inside.

“Whenever there’s more celebration,” Lockhart says, “there’s a better chance of misbehavior.”

Chiefs president Denny Thum says the team heard in recent years from concerned fans, and they were taken into account when Arrowhead was renovated. A family area was added to the northwest corner of the exterior, and the team will experiment this season with some lower-level seats that, Thum says, will be alcohol- and obscenity-free. He says there will be 25-40 of those seats in 2010, at no additional cost, and there’s potential for expansion.

That’s nice, but as usual when there’s discussion of change, not everyone is on board — not without some assurances that the old charms won’t be flushed away.

“I would hope the Chiefs never aspire to neuter, in effect, the fans,” Mann says. “I don’t think you want to take away that home-field advantage. There’s a way to go out there — raise hell, so to speak — and do it without (annoying) the family and spilling beer on the grandmother in front of you.”

Benson says he’s not yet ready to bring his children back to Arrowhead. Not only was his previous experience one he’d like to forget, but there are also the joys of high-definition TV to consider.

“I don’t want to be a prude about it,” he says, “and I don’t think I really am. We love the Chiefs. I’d just rather watch them from my living room.”

Posted on Sat, Aug. 28, 2010 10:15 PM

Read more:

New organization to fight terror in sports

Cricketers show support for anti-terrorism
1:31pm Friday 27th August 2010

Over 1,000 people have come together from across the world to unite in solidarity and take a stand against terrorism in sport.

In just over three weeks the Not In My Game campaign has attracted support from people across the globe, with support coming from as far away as Norway, Denmark and Pakistan.

Paul Farbrace, the former Kent batsman and assistant coach to the Sri Lankan team, said: “The overwhelming support we have seen for this campaign has been tremendous and a huge thank you must go out to everyone who has backed the pledge, but it is now vital that we continue the campaign’s momentum.

“I would urge everyone who wishes to take a stand against terrorism in sport backs the pledge at and signs up for a free cricket pack to host a cricket game in their area.”

In recent weeks supporters of the campaign have been organising community cricket games up and down the country to help demonstrate that cricket, and any other sport, should be able to be played whenever and wherever possible without fear of terrorist attacks. The campaign, which was launched to protect the future of international cricket games from terrorist attacks at the end of July, is running all summer and has united fans of crickets in communities across the UK.

Not In My Game has received unanimous backing from international cricket stars such as Mushtaq Ahmed and Owais Shah who have helped encourage sports fans from across the world to come together and take a stand against terrorism in the sport they love.

This summer Pakistan played its home series against Australia in England because of concerns for the safety of players following last year’s terrorist attacks on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore.

The atrocity killed seven and injured a further eight cricketers and coaching staff. The attacks led to a ban on all international cricket games in Pakistan this year and shocked cricket fans around the world.

The Not in My Game campaign is being led by Sport for Life! and Radical Middle Way, two grassroots charities who will bring together cricket fans from communities across the UK.

In addition to encouraging people to sign the pledge in defiance of terrorism, the groups will be organising hundreds of community cricket matches across towns and cities in the UK.

Visit or find the campaign on Facebook today, to back the Not in My Game pledge and register to host or take part in a local cricket match.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Off Road Race Deaths
Family, friends mourn 8 killed in off-road wreck
By GILLIAN FLACCUS, Associated Press Writers Gillian Flaccus, Associated Press Writers

LUCERNE VALLEY, Calif. – Zachary Freeman loved to fish, dirt bike and camp — but most of all, he loved to watch off-road truck racing in the vast Mojave Desert northeast of Los Angeles.

That love would cost the 24-year-old pipe welder and seven other off-road enthusiasts their lives when a truck competing in the annual California 200 careened off the sand track Saturday and into the crowd, instantly killing Freeman and his best friend.

On Sunday, his girlfriend and his stepfather mourned at a simple cross-and-stone memorial set in the thick sand and waited in the blistering heat for a locksmith to arrive to change the ignition lock in Freeman's truck so they could take it home. His keys had been lost in the chaos; the coroner found only a lighter in his pocket.

"I'm just in shock. It's not real yet, it hasn't soaked in," said Randall Peterson, his grieving stepfather.

Freeman's girlfriend, Nicky Carmikle, sobbed as she knelt down and placed her boyfriend's camouflage baseball hat in the center of the stone circle surrounding the wooden cross.

Carmikle recalled how she had stepped away from the race for a few minutes to use the bathroom and returned to find the truck upside down, bodies everywhere and people screaming in panic.

"His shoes are still over there. I can't even look," she said, gesturing to a bag full of abandoned clothing, shoes and blankets, some stained with blood. "It just isn't fair, it isn't right."

Those who witnessed the accident said the crowd pressed close to the track and could almost touch the trucks as they hurtled and bounced over the desert sand.

Shortly after the race began, one driver took a jump at high speed, hit his brakes on landing and rolled his truck sideways into spectators, sending bodies flying on a section of track that had no guardrails or anything else to keep the crowd back. Eight people were killed and 12 were injured.

"You could touch it if you wanted to. It's part of the excitement," Carmikle said. "There's always that risk factor, but you just don't expect that it will happen to you."

Cheyenne Frantzich, 15, was watching the race with her sister, who was killed in the crash. "I just thought it would be fun to be close. And it was a big mistake," Frantzich told CBS' "Early Show" on Monday.

California Highway Patrol Officer Joaquin Zubieta said Brett M. Sloppy, 28, of San Marcos, was behind the wheel of the truck involved in the crash. Zubieta said alcohol was not a factor in the crash and there were no plans to arrest Sloppy, who the CHP estimates was going 45 to 50 mph at the time of the crash.

Zubieta said state vehicle codes don't apply because the race was a sanctioned event held with the approval of the federal Bureau of Land Management, which owns the land used for the race.

The BLM issued a statement saying safety was the responsibility of the race organizer, South El Monte-based Mojave Desert Racing. MDR's permit required racers to travel 15 mph or less when they were within 50 feet of fans, and allowed no more than 300 spectators for the event, the agency said.

BLM spokesman David Briery said the agency would cooperate with the CHP's investigation.

"We followed all our rules," he said by phone. "We don't think we did anything wrong."

Phone and e-mail messages left for MDR were not immediately returned.

Tens of thousands of people were spread out along the 50-mile track, but the site of the crash, a stretch known as the "rockpile," is one of the most popular areas to gather because the trucks become airborne, witnesses said.

Some said they got within 4 feet of the unmarked track, watching trucks fly over a series of jumps. Several jagged rocks jut from the rutted dirt track at the bottom of the hill.

The driver "hit the rock and just lost control and tumbled," said Matt March, 24, of Wildomar, who was standing next to the jump. "Bodies went everywhere."

Derek Cox, a friend of victim Andrew Therrien, told KABC-TV in Los Angeles that Therrien, 22, pushed children out of the way as the truck barreled toward them. He was killed in the accident.

"I owe my son's life, as well as many others. They were inches away from him and he saved their lives," Cox said of the Riverside resident. "He's a hero in my book."

March said he and other fans lifted the truck, which came to rest with its oversized wheels pointing toward the sky, and found four people lying unconscious underneath.

It took rescue vehicles and helicopters more than half an hour to reach the remote location, accessible only by a rutted dirt road. Spectators said off-duty police and firefighters in the crowd joined paramedics hired by the race organizer to help the injured and place blankets over the dead.

Six people died at the scene and two others died after being taken to a hospital, authorities said. Most of the 12 injured people were airlifted to hospitals.

Paramedics brought six people — five adults and a child — to Loma Linda University Medical Center, spokesman Herbert Atienza said Sunday. He had no information on their condition.

Officials said Sloppy, the driver, wasn't hurt. It was not clear why he lost control of the truck, a white modified Ford Ranger with "Misery Motorsports" painted on the doors.

A Facebook page that appeared to belong to Sloppy and included a picture of his truck was updated Sunday with a note: "Soo incredibly lost and devistated my thoughts and prayers go out to all the familys and friends involved.. Thank you too all my friends for sticking with me even thru these tragic times I love you all."

Nearly 40 friends responded with messages of support by Sunday afternoon.

The race is part of a series held in the Mojave Desert's Soggy Dry Lake Bed, about an hour's drive from the nearest city, Lucerne Valley.

The course winds through empty desert dotted only with rocky outcroppings and desert shrubs. Several families were still camping Sunday on a dried-up lake bed below the crash site. Buggies and dirtbikes zoomed back and forth, kicking up dust that could be seen for miles.

There were no barriers at the site of the crash. Fans said these races rarely have any kind of safety guards.

"That's desert racing for you," said fan John Payne, of Anaheim. "You're at your own risk out here. You are in the middle off the desert. People were way too close and they should have known. You can't really hold anyone at fault. It's just a horrible, horrible accident."

Briery said he didn't know if the BLM would conduct an internal investigation, and he added it was too early to say if the agency would change its permit rules to ensure stricter enforcement of safety requirements.

The BLM is required by Congress to make public lands accessible to reasonable requests, and the area used Saturday is one of the few available to off-road enthusiasts, he said.

The CHP does not normally investigate crashes at organized events, but took the lead on this probe because of its scope.

Aside from Freeman and Therrien, those killed were Brian Wolfin, 27, Anthony Sanchez, 23, and Aaron Farkas, 25, all of Escondido; Danica Frantzich, 20, of Las Vegas; and Dustin Malson, 24, of Ventura. The name of the eighth victim, a 34-year-old man from Spring Valley, had not been released by Sunday night.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Tila Tequila and a rough crowd

CARTERVILLE, Ill. – A sheriff says reality TV actress Tila Tequila complained that audience members pelted her with stones and feces during an outdoor music festival in southern Illinois.

Hardin County Sheriff Tom Seiner told a Carterville TV station it happened early Saturday at the Gathering of the Juggalos. That's a weekend festival based around the band Insane Clown Posse and other groups from Psychopathic Records.

Seiner told WSIL-TV that Tequila, whose real name is Tila Nguyen, complained that she was injured when audience members threw rocks at her. Seiner said Nguyen also complained that feces were thrown.

The sheriff also said one man stabbed another, though not fatally.

Sheriff's Department dispatcher Jimmy Barnard said early Sunday that he had no other details.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Safe Food at Stadiums

The following article highlights a major concern that can be addressed with proper training. The key if for both management and employees to treat their work similar to their house and that they would not want to be served bad food nor would they want to serve their friends bad food.

If hefty price tags, long lines and marginal quality hadn't convinced you to avoid eating concessions at professional sporting events, an ESPN report might do the job.

The network recently compiled a list of 2009 health-inspection reports from every major professional sports venue (MLB, NFL, NHL and NBA) in North America and the results were startling.

Health inspectors found rodent droppings, improper hand-washing, bacterial growth, poor refrigeration, expired meat and the presence of toxic material — and those were just the “critical violations.” More than half of the vendors were cited for such violations at one-third of the venues. And at two stadiums, Tropicana Field in Tampa and the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., inspectors cited all of the vendors for critical violations.

Some of the lowlights from the report, courtesy of ESPN:

Verizon Center (Washington D.C.) — Mice droppings, a critical violation in Washington, were found at at least 10 vendors.

Great American Ballpark (Cincinnati) — Inspectors saw an employee scraping food debris from a spatula using the trash bin and then trying to continue using the same spatula without cleaning it.

St. Pete Times Forum (Tampa) — At one location with five critical violations, an inspector saw an employee handle dirty dishes and then put away clean dishes without washing his/her hands or changing gloves. The same location lacked soap at a hand sink.

Staples Center (Los Angeles) — One stand dumped 9.5 pounds of sushi after inspectors found that it had become too warm.

One could argue that if you're ordering sushi at a basketball game, you're playing with fire, but it’s reasonable for fans to expect that whatever food they're ordering at a game is safe and properly handled.

[America's best baseball stadiums]

It should be noted that each state has different inspection requirements, so an 84 percent violation rate at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa doesn't necessarily mean that the vendors there are six times as dirty as ones at Candlestick Park (13 percent). Florida had the worst overall violation rate, but that’s likely a result of tougher inspection criteria rather than a systemic statewide penchant for improperly washed sinks.

Chicago stadiums had the lowest percentage of vendors with critical violations; that could be because city inspectors make their visits when the stadiums are empty and no employee is handling or serving food. (Gotta lova that Chicago political machine.) Canada also had low violation rates for each venue.

Gillette Stadium (New England Patriots) and Nassau Coliseum (New York Islanders) fared the best; no vendor at either stadium was cited for a critical violation.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Disaster in Germany- One entrance

By MICHAEL SOHN and VANESSA GERA, Associated Press Writers Michael Sohn And Vanessa Gera, Associated Press Writers –

DUISBURG, Germany – Crowds of people streaming into a techno music festival surged through an already jammed entry tunnel, setting off a panic that killed 18 people and injured 80 at an event meant to celebrate love and peace.

The circumstances of the stampede Saturday at the famed Love Parade festival in Duisburg in western Germany were still not clear even hours after the chaos, but it appeared that some or most of the 18 had been crushed to death.

Authorities also suggested that some of the people killed or injured might have attempted to flee the crowd by jumping over a barrier and falling several meters (yards). Witnesses described a desperate scene, as people piled up on each other or scrambled over others who had fallen in the crush.

"The young people came to celebrate and instead there are dead and injured," said Chancellor Angela Merkel. "I am horrified by the suffering and the pain."

Criticism quickly fell on city officials for allowing only one entrance to the grounds of a hugely popular event that drew hundreds of thousands of people to dance, watch floats and listen to DJs spin. German media said 1.4 million people attended but that figure could not be immediately confirmed.

The founder of the Love Parade, Matthias Roeingh, known by the name Dr. Motte, blasted the planning for the event, saying "one single entrance through a tunnel lends itself to disaster. I am very sad."

City officials chose not to evacuate the site, fearing it might spark more panic, and many people continued partying, unaware of the deaths.

Emergency workers had trouble getting to the victims, hampered by the huge crowds. The area was a hectic scene, with bodies lying on the ground and people milling around or attending to them. Rescue workers carried away the injured as techno music thundered in the background.

Local media reported that the cell phone system in Duisburg broke down temporarily and frantic parents trying to reach their children instead drove to the scene to look for them.

However, most streets downtown were blocked by police and the highways leading to the city were jammed. Several media outlets also reported that rescue helicopters had problems taking away the heavily injured because there was not enough space for them to land.

Authorities believe the panic might have first been sparked outside the tunnel when some revelers tried to jump over a barrier and fell, said Wolfgang Rabe, the head of the crisis unit set up by Duisburg city authorities.

Police commissioner Juergen Kieskemper said that just before the stampede occurred at about 5 p.m. (1500 GMT, 11 a.m. EDT), police closed off the area where the parade was being held because it was already overcrowded. They told revelers over loudspeakers to turn around and walk back in the other direction before the panic broke out, he said.

Eyewitness Udo Sandhoefer told n-tv television that even though no one else was being let in, people still streamed into the tunnel, causing "a real mass panic."

"At some point the column (of people) got stuck, probably because everything was closed up front, and we saw that the first people were already lying on the ground," he said.

"Others climbed up the walls and tried somehow to get into the grounds from the side, and the people in the crowd that moved up simply ran over those who were lying on the ground."

Another witness, a young man who wasn't named, told n-tv the tunnel became so crowded that people began falling. "It got tighter and tighter from minute to minute and at some point everyone just wanted out," he said. "People were just pushed together until they fell over."

Duisburg city officials decided at a crisis meeting to let the parade go on to prevent more panic and another stampede, said city spokesman Frank Kopatschek.

It is the worst accident of its kind since nine people were crushed to death and 43 more were injured at a rock festival in Roskilde, Denmark, in 2000. That fatal accident occurred when a huge crowd pushed forward during a Pearl Jam gig.

The Love Parade was once an institution in Berlin, but has been held in the industrial Ruhr region of western Germany since 2007.

The original Berlin Love Parade grew from a 1989 peace demonstration into a huge outdoor celebration of club culture that drew about 1.5 million people at its peak in 1999. But it suffered from financial problems and tensions with city officials in later years, and eventually moved.

The website of the Love Parade — whose motto this year was "The Art of Love — went black on Saturday night, with words in white saying:

"Our wish to arrange a happy togetherness was overshadowed by the tragic accidents today. ... Our sincere condolences to all the relatives and our thoughts are with all of those who are currently being taken care of."


Gera reported from Berlin. Associated Press Writers Geir Moulson and Kirsten Grieshaber contributed to this report from Berlin.