The shocking moment where a concert goer 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 midst of Colombian singer Juanes’ free gig in New York City’s Central Park as part of the SummerStage concert series on Thursday. The event had to be abandoned because thousands had hopped fences in order to get in and created an unsafe environment, organizers said.
The video begins with the security worker accusing a group of ‘bum-rushing’ the gate and forcing a barrier on top of him. The man then points out one crowd member, alleging that person used a slur.
‘You called me a f****t? Done, done, done right now,’ he says. The man tells other crowd members to duck as he takes the spray from his pocket and yells: ‘B***h’ before storming away.
An attendee of the concert told the New York Post that security personnel were antagonizing the crowd. Isaac Carvajal said he was with his father, around 10 minutes from where the pepper spraying took place.
The video begins with the security complaining that the crowd bum-rushed the gate and forced a barrier to fall on him
The guard accuses a member of the crowd of calling him a ‘f****t’ and then leans across the barrier to pepper spray him
‘The security people were kind of teasing the crowds. They never said: “We are over capacity,”‘ Carvajal said.
An NYPD spokesperson confirmed that a man and a woman were hit by the spray both were treated at the venue. The security guard left before officers responded. At the time of writing no arrests have been made.
According to SummerStage officials, the security guard will not be permitted to work at future events. He was employed by an outside contractor.
‘We don’t in any way allow the use of mace or force. When we were made aware of the video that had been circulating and what had transpired, we immediately took action,’ a spokesperson told the Post.
The abandonment of the concert was the first time that a SummerStage gig was stopped for non-weather related reason.
There were 5,000 people inside the venue for the gig with a further 12,000 outside trying to get in. Juanes, 50, performed two songs before the event was called off.
NYPD officials said that the security guard fled the scene of the abandoned concert before they arrived
‘Because people were climbing in through the bushes, going in over fences, pushing down the barricades … it’s lucky that it didn’t go worse than it did. Because if 12,000 people outside had managed to force their way in, there would have been a tragedy,’ attendee Pamela Mazza told Gothamist.
Mazza also said that despite Juanes’ popularity in Latin America, officials were slow to make an announcement in Spanish the concert was canceled calling it ‘cultural ignorance and incompetence.’
Another concertgoer told the website that there were only between two and six police officers present despite the swelling the crowd. Others described arguing, pushing and ‘fist-fighting’ amongst the crowd.
In response the NYPD told Gothamist that officers to not provide security for private events although officers were involved in the decision to call off the gig.
Queens resident Julisa Fernandez told the website that there were such panic among the crowd, rumors spread that someone was armed with a gun.
‘People were just jumping the barricades. And there were so many people pushing and shoving and kids got hurt too in front of us. … They got pushed around, and they also got scared,’ Fernandez said.
Colombian sensation Juanes expressed his disappointment that the show had to be canceled because of crowd control issues
On stage, even Juanes became aware of the problems, telling the crowd from the stage to ‘be calm,’ 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, right?,’ he said in Spanish.
He later told the magazine: ‘I’m sad because I was very eager to play.’
Billboard’s Isabela Raygoza said that outside the venue there no ‘proper measures’ for crowd control.
‘Outside they didn’t have the proper measures for security. So, I think a group of people stampeded inside the venue, so they knocked down a fence and obviously that compromises the safety of people that are already inside,’ she added.