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Published: Monday, 9/1/2003

Hip-hop show ends in violence; 4 arrested

Three young men and a woman were arrested after a hip-hop concert drew to a close late yesterday. Several fights broke out among a crowd of about 3,000 youths exiting the Ottawa Park amphitheater.

Sergeant M.A. Evanoff said crowds at the concert were orderly until performances ended about 5 p.m. Police were called to break up fights near Kenwood Boulevard and Sherbrooke Avenue and Kenwood and Mellwood Avenue.

Somebody lit firecrackers, adding to the commotion of the congested traffic on Kenwood.

“We had some gridlock there because of all the pedestrians and vehicle traffic,” Sergeant Evanoff said.

Names of those arrested were not available, but charges likely would involve fighting and interfering with a police officer. A rescue crew treated a police officer for exposure to mace used to subdue the woman suspect.

Billed as the sixth annual Glass City Expo presented by WJUC-FM (107.3), the free concert began at noon and featured Zane, the Ying Yang Twins, and other national and local performers.

The show marked the third year the station has presented end-of-summer entertainment at Ottawa Park. Mayor Jack Ford and the sponsor of the show both said a different venue needs to be considered for next year's show.

Mayor Ford attended the show and was among off-duty officers and some 30 private security personnel telling the audience at the end of the performances to leave the amphitheater area.

“I was just trying to urge them to keep moving,” Mayor Ford said. “When you have several thousand kids gathering you are going to have fighting.” Grandparents and infants in strollers were among those in attendance, he said.

Police said about a dozen off-duty officers were at the event.

Shuttle transportation was offered from nearby parking lots to try to minimize on-street parking in the neighborhood north of Ottawa Park, a complaint from area residents last year.

“I would think next year we would have to have it at Fifth Third Field or Promenade Park,” Mayor Ford said.

Charles Welch, the owner of WJUC, which sponsored the show, agreed.

“Obviously, we can't have 7,000 people here - that is a fact,” he said. “We did what we could and it has grown too large.”

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