The shocking moment a concertgoer was pepper-sprayed by a security guard after the worker accused the person of calling him a ‘f****t’ was caught on camera.
The incident occurred in the middle of a free performance 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 canceled because thousands had jumped over fences to get in and created an unsafe environment, organizers said.
The video it begins with the security worker accusing a group of ‘rushing’ the gate and forcing a barrier above him. The man then points to a member of the crowd, claiming that person used a slur.
‘Did you call me fuck? Done, done, done right now,’ she says. The man tells other members of the crowd to get down as he pulls the spray from his pocket and yells, ‘B***h’ before walking off.
A concertgoer told the New York Post that security personnel were antagonizing the crowd. Isaac Carvajal said he was with his father, about 10 minutes from where the pepper spraying took place.
The video begins with security complaining about the crowd breaking down the gate and forcing a barrier down on him.
The guard accuses a member of the crowd of calling him ‘fuck’ and then leans over the barrier to pepper-spray him.
‘The security people were joking with the crowd. They never said: “We are over capacity,” said Carvajal.
A spokesman for the New York police confirmed that a man and a woman were hit by the spray, both were treated at the scene. The security guard left before the officers responded. As of writing, no arrests have been made.
According to SummerStage officials, the security guard will not be allowed to work future events. You were employed by an outside contractor.
“In no way do we allow the use of mace or force. When we learned of the video that had been circulating and what had occurred, we immediately took action,” a spokesperson told the Post.
The concert’s abandonment was the first time a SummerStage concert had been stopped for reasons unrelated to the weather.
There were 5,000 people inside the venue for the concert with another 12,000 outside trying to get in. Juanes, 50, performed two songs before the event was cancelled.
NYPD officials said the security guard fled the scene of the abandoned concert before they arrived.
‘Because people were climbing through the bushes, jumping fences, breaking down the barricades…it’s lucky it didn’t get any worse than it did. Because if 12,000 outsiders had managed to break in, there would have been a tragedy,” said assistant Pamela Mazza. Gothamist.
Mazza also said that despite Juanes’ popularity in Latin America, officials were slow to make an announcement in Spanish that the concert was canceled due to “cultural ignorance and incompetence.”
Another concert-goer told the website that there were only between two and six police officers present despite the growing crowd. Others described arguing, shoving and ‘fist fights’ in the crowd.
In response, the NYPD told Gothamist that officers would not provide security for private events, although officers were involved in the decision to cancel the concert.
Julisa Fernandez, a Queens resident, told the website that there was such panic in the crowd that rumors spread that someone was armed with a gun.
‘People were just jumping over the barricades. And there were so many people pushing and shoving and the kids got hurt in front of us too. … They pushed them and they got scared too,” Fernández said.
Colombian sensation Juanes expressed disappointment that the show had to be canceled due to crowd control issues.
On stage, even Juanes noticed the problems and told the crowd from the stage to “be calm,” he reported. Billboard.
‘If we are not calm, they are going to stop the concert. Many people were left outside without being able to enter. We want to continue with the show. It’s possible, isn’t it?’, he said in Spanish.
He later told the magazine, “I’m sad because I really wanted to play.”
Isabela Raygoza of Billboard said that outside the venue there are no “adequate measures” for crowd control.
‘Outside they did not have adequate security measures. So, I think a group of people stampeded inside the place, so they tore down a fence and obviously that compromises the safety of the people who are already inside,” he added.