Posted at: 10/20/2012 7:29 PM
| Updated at: 10/20/2012 7:31 PM
By: Dan Bazile
ALBANY - A crowd waist deep in foam and suds, dancing the night away -- is a foam party. It was something similar that attracted a massive crowd to the armory on Thursday night.
Albany police spokesman Steve Smith said Saturday, “Around 10 o'clock when people were still trying to get in the door, we ran into some issues that were potentially very dangerous.”
Smith says nearly two thousand people were already inside while another two thousand were trying to get in. With long lines and a slow ticket process, Smith says people's patients ran out -- and the event staff made a decision to close the doors.
“People began to get crushed. People were pressed up against the barricades. Officers were actually pulling people over the barricades in order to help them…It was a very dangerous situation.”
Smith says officer from across the city, including some detectives, came to the scene to bring the crowd under control. In the end, seven people were arrested, accused of inciting a riot, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. Three officers were injured. One of them was taken to Albany Medical Center after a bleach-like liquid was thrown in his face.
“What's sad is that these officers were just trying to protect people. They were trying to de-escalate and very dangerous situation and try to maintain some order. These people began to fight with our police officers,” said Smith.
Smith says Albany police has had issues at the armory in the past with other raves where several thousand people showed up.
“There's been drug abuse as well as alcohol abuse. Our job is to maintain public safety for all those involved.”
The injured police officers are recovering.
REACTION FROM THE ARMORY:
The Washington Avenue Armory deeply regrets the incidents that occurred outside the building on October 18th and are taking serious, immediate action regarding the entry procedure processes as well as other measures that continue keep our patrons, public safety officials and the neighborhood safe during The Armory’s events.
New policies are being developed that encompass improved systems to ensure this does not happen again. In brief, The Armory will:
The Armory will also require additional security at these style events to further reiterate our commitment to safety as well as continue to confer with Albany Police and EMTs. We recommend including all parties (APD, EMTs, Armory Management, Security, Event Producer) in a pre event meeting to prepare, reiterate best practices as well as review entry procedures based on ticket sales and expected walk-up attendance.
We are confident that in taking these new steps, we will alleviate outside patron aggravation that escalates with the unfortunate assistance of the combative few. The Armory is proud in the fact that over the course of the past 12 months, the building has catered to tens of thousands of event attendees with limited, minimal issues that were handled in a swift, safe manner.
Again, The Armory regrets the recent incidents that took place outside of the building. We are truly appreciative of the ongoing support of our neighbors and are confident this isolated incident is not a reflection of the positive impact our multi-use arena has created for our community.
We respect and welcome feedback, comments, thoughts and recommendations on how we can continue to provide quality, safe events. Please feel free to contact me directly in the event there are additional questions, concerns, etc.