Newsbrief: New Jersey "Safe, Drug-Free" Benefit Concert Ends in Melee, Arrests 1/16/04

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A benefit concert billed as a safe, drug- and alcohol-free event for teenagers turned into a violent confrontation between police and club-goers in Brick, New Jersey, last Friday night. By the time it was over, the benefit had been shut down and 10 people arrested, including one for marijuana possession.

Brick Township police told reporters Saturday that four adults and five juveniles had been arrested, including a 14-year-old charged with aggravated assault on a police officer. The trouble started when police arrived at the event, sponsored by the Brick Municipal Alliance Committee on Alcoholism, Drug Abuse, and Youth Services, on a first aid call. That call was handled without incident, but security staff on the scene told police they were concerned about intense activity in the club's mosh pit.

Police subsequently removed several of the more agitated moshers from the event, raising tensions until they decided to shut down the whole thing. According to police, the crowd became increasingly hostile and disorderly after the closing. At this point, police clashed with the crowd, arresting four adults and three juveniles for disorderly conduct, two teens for assault, and one teen with resisting arrest. (Some people were charged with more than one offense).

The event was a fundraiser for the state's Safe Haven for Infants program, and was sponsored in part by a grant from the Governor's Council on Alcoholism and Drug Use.

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