Fountain Square concerts canceled after unrest - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Fountain Square concerts canceled after unrest

60 officers, some in protective riot gear, responded to the July 4 melee. (PHOTO: FOX19 NOW/ Chris Waldman) 60 officers, some in protective riot gear, responded to the July 4 melee. (PHOTO: FOX19 NOW/ Chris Waldman)
Jy Quynn Britten is charged with two counts of resisting arrest and obstruction of official business(PHOTO: Hamilton County Jail) Jy Quynn Britten is charged with two counts of resisting arrest and obstruction of official business(PHOTO: Hamilton County Jail)
Gary Sheffield was charged with misconduct at the scene of an emergency (Source: Hamilton County Justice Center) Gary Sheffield was charged with misconduct at the scene of an emergency (Source: Hamilton County Justice Center)
CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -

The Saturday night concert series on Fountain Square is canceled following a melee at the Fourth of July show.

The unrest started around 11 p.m., just as the Reds game let out and a concert at Fountain Square ended. Seven people were arrested and police had to respond in riot gear after coming under attack.

Mayor John Cranley called it an “event-based problem” and said more officers should have been patrolling the area.

"While we strongly believe that the individuals instigating trouble at Government Square on July 4, 2015, are not associated with our event, they have caused us to take immediate actions," said event organizers Self-Diploma. "Anytime a police officer of our city is put in harms way, or patrons of an event we are producing feel unsafe to attend, we are always focused on what's best for the City of Cincinnati." 

Representatives said the Saturday, July 11 concert, featuring Cal Scruby, would be the last, but later announced that show was canceled as well. 

The Saturday night hip hop series at Fountain Square has been booked and promoted by Self-Diploma and 3CDC for the past five years. This year's series was originally slated to run until September. Read the entire statement from 3CDC here.

Police are investigating a Facebook video showing a bloodied man on the pavement in connection with the July 4 incident. Watch the video at this link. (Warning: Contains graphic images and language.) 

Only eight officers were patrolling the square when juveniles began hurling bottles and fireworks at officers, according to officials. Sixty officers were called to the area as the violence unfolded.

The videoed assault happened as the melee spilled outside the square, said Cincinnati Police Captain Mike Neville in a press conference Monday. Neville said he couldn’t confirm whether the bloodied man shown in the video was a participant or innocent bystander. The man was treated at University of Cincinnati Medical Center and released.

The 1-minute video of the beaten victim was uploaded to Facebook and viewed thousands of times.

A police incident report labels the assault a hate crime and "anti-white" listed as the explanation. But Neville said they are not investigating the attack as a hate crime despite that report and did not say why it was initially reported as such. No ethnic crime charges were filed.

It's the latest violent incident to grab headlines in the days leading up to the July 14 All-Star Game, where 200,000 visitors are expected to flood downtown.

Two of the suspects arrested Saturday night were charged with felony assault on a police officer. Three juveniles were also charged. 

Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley took blame for the incident. He called it an "event-based problem" and said there should have been more police in the area.

Police say two of the suspects had to be shocked with a Taser stun gun, including Jy Quynn Britten, 21.

He was arrested on charges of assault, resisting arrest and obstructing official business after allegedly punching a peace officer in the face and refusing to put his hand behind his back after being tased.

Gary Sheffield, 29, was also arrested and charged with misconduct and an emergency.

 "Person in the crowd became disorderly, including fireworks were being thrown around, loud fireworks from what I understand," Neville told reporters Saturday. "Some of them were being thrown at the officers that were on Fountain Square."

Some visiting Fountain Square say the incident won't keep them away.

 "It wouldn't deter me. I think it's a great event," said Teresa Flanagan. "It's great for the city. People have to watch each other's backs and we've heard what our police department said, they're on top of it and we have to trust in them and work with each other."

Statement from 3CDC released Tuesday: 

The Saturday night hip hop series at Fountain Square, booked and promoted by Self-Diploma and 3CDC for the past five years, has been canceled. Cal Scruby, a rapper and Cincinnati native now living in California, will not be performing this Saturday during the All Star Week festivities on Fountain Square.

3CDC has had the privilege of programming Fountain Square with free, family-friendly entertainment since the winter of 2006, made possible through the support of corporate sponsors, foundations, and advertisers. The organization strives to service the broad range of generations and ethnicities represented in a multi-cultural city through diverse music genres and activities. Country, Latin, reggae, up-and-coming independent rock (Indie), and hip hop have been the staples of the Fountain Square summer concert series for the past five years. All 3CDC contracts with performers specify “clean” acts for family-friendly fun ending by 10:00 p.m. weekdays and 11:00 p.m. weekends, and concerts are shut down if this agreement is abused.

However, the Saturday night hip hop concerts have grown such that they have become a capacity challenge that has raised concerns from civic leaders, public safety officials, and surrounding businesses. While 3CDC and Self-Diploma strongly believe that the individuals instigating trouble at Government Square and around the flagpole at Fountain Square this past Fourth of July were not associated with the Fountain Square concert, which attracted approximately 400 people and ended at 10:30 p.m., there are public safety implications that cannot be ignored. When police officers are put at risk it is time to take action.

3CDC has been working with Major League Baseball, the Cincinnati Reds, the Community Organizing Committee, the City of Cincinnati, the Cincinnati Police Department, and many others to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience at Fountain Square during the upcoming All Star Week. All programming will remain the same with the exception of the one-hour performance by Cal Scruby, now canceled. A full line-up of activities at both Fountain Square and Washington Park during All Star Week follows.  

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