The shocking moment a concertgoer was pepper-sprayed by a security guard after the worker allegedly called him a ‘f****t’ was caught on camera.
The incident happened in the middle of a free gig by Colombian singer Juanes in New York City’s Central Park as part of the SummerStage concert series on Thursday. The event had to be abandoned because thousands of people blocked entry and created an unsafe environment, organizers said.
The video begins with the security guard accusing a group of ‘left-rushing’ the gate and forcing a barrier over it. The man then pointed at a crowd member, alleging that the man had used an expletive.
‘Did you call me? Done, done, done now,’ he says. The man tells other members of the crowd to duck as he takes the spray from his pocket and shouts: ‘B***h’ before the storm.
A concert attendee told the New York Post that security personnel were hostile to the crowd. Isaac Carvajal said he was with his father, about 10 minutes from where the pepper spray was fired.
The video begins with security complaining that the crowd rushes to the gate and is forced to barricade him
The guard accused a member of the crowd of calling him a ‘f****t’ and then leaning over a barrier to pepper spray him.
‘The security men were harassing the crowd. They never said: “We are over capacity,” Carvajal said.
An NYPD spokeswoman confirmed that a man and a woman hit by the spray were both treated at the scene. The security guard left before the officers could respond. No arrests have been made at the time of writing.
According to SummerStage officials, security guards will not be allowed to work future events. He hired an outside contractor.
‘We do not allow mace or force in any way. A spokesperson told the Post that the video was circulated and when we were made aware of what happened, we took immediate action.
The concert’s abandonment was the first time a SummerStage gig was called off for non-weather-related reasons.
5,000 people were in the venue for the gig and another 12,000 tried to get in outside. Juanes, 50, performed two songs before closing the event.
NYPD officials said security guards fled the abandoned concert scene before they arrived
‘Because people were climbing through bushes, going over fences, pushing down barricades … it’s lucky it wasn’t worse. Because if 12,000 people from the outside had been able to force their way in, there would have been a tragedy,’ attendee Pamela Maza told Gothamist.
Mazza also said that despite Juanes’ popularity in Latin America, the concert was canceled citing ‘cultural ignorance and incompetence’ as officials were slow to make announcements in Spanish.
Another concertgoer told the website that only two to six police officers were present in the crowd. Others described arguments, shoving and ‘fist fights’ in the crowd.
In response, the NYPD told Gothamist that officers would not provide security for private events even though officers were involved in the decision to close the gig.
Queens resident Julisa Fernandez told the website there was such panic in the crowd, rumors spread that someone was armed with a gun.
‘People were just jumping the barricades. And there were a lot of people pushing and kids in front of us were also injured. … They push around, and they get scared,’ Fernandez said.
Colombian sensation Juanes expressed his disappointment that the show had to be canceled due to crowd control issues
On stage, even Juanes became aware of the problem, telling the crowd to ‘calm down’ from the stage, Billboard reported.
‘If we don’t calm down they will stop the concert. Many went out without being able to enter. We want the show to go on. It’s possible, isn’t it?, he said in Spanish.
He later told the magazine: ‘I’m sorry because I was so keen to play.’
Isabella Raigoza of Billboard said there was no ‘proper crowd control’ outside the venue.
‘They did not have proper security measures outside. So, I think a group of people stampeded inside the venue, so they broke a fence and obviously that compromised the safety of people who were already inside,’ he added.
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