New York News
Melee at Tammany Hall following concert
NEW YORK (WABC) -- Some concertgoers are calling it police brutality.
They claim the event was peaceful until the officers showed up with pepper spray and batons.
It was an all out brawl between police and concert goers early Wednesday morning outside Tammany Hall in the East Village.
Some of that violence was caught on camera.
The edited video was recorded on cell phones by people on the street.
The rap group "Smif-N-Wessun" was performing Tuesday night to celebrate the launch of its new album "Monumental."
Witnesses say in the middle of the show dozens of officers told people to leave.
They say everyone ran for the exits when they were overwhelmed by mace.
"It seemed like the came in on a mission. To scare the people and beat the people," said General Steele, an artist.
"If this was a private event for Lady Gaga or a private company for Goldman this would not have happened," said Kenneth Montgomery, an attorney.
Cops say they were called out because 35-year-old Lewis Pena refused to leave the concert and got into a scuffle with bouncers.
They say he punched an officer in the face.
Police say that sparked the frenzy.
27-year-old Gabriel Diaz is one of the five people police arrested.
He walked out of court in a neck brace, with staples in his head, and cuts and bruises all over his face.
"They were punching me kicking me, whatever they could do to me," said Gabriel Diaz, a defendant.
Five police officers were also hurt.
One has a broken nose, another has a broken tooth, and the rest have cuts and bruises.
Police say when they responded to the 911 call, the crowd of about 30 people were throwing beer bottles at each other and anything they could get their hands on.
21-year-old Cynthia Rosa was also arrested during the melee.
All of the defendants say this was police brutality, plain and simple.
"They grabbed my hair. They left a few bruises. I have one here one here," Rose said.
"They dragged her on the ground," Melinda Cruz, her mother added.
"They didn't drag me on the ground, they handcuffed me and pulled me," Rose said.
Defendant's Melinda Cruz mother says "I feel angry right now. She's my baby. They may have kids too, would they like that to happen to their kids?" Cruz said.
The charges against the defendants include assault, causing physical injury to a police officer, rioting, and unlawful possession of a weapon.
The NYPD says its Internal Affairs Department is reviewing this incident.
new york city, lower east side, police brutality, new york news, carolina leid
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