Pubdate: Tue, 19 Feb 2008
Source: Olympian, The (WA)
Copyright: 2008 The Olympian
Author: Jeremy Pawloski


Carolyn Hauser said that when an Evergreen police officer handcuffed a
friend of hers and escorted him out of the Dead Prez concert early
Friday morning, members of the hip-hop duo said words to the effect of
"are you going to let this happen at your school?" and "what are you
going to do about it?"

Outside the concert at The Evergreen State College's Campus Recreation
Center, hundreds of young people blocked the officer's patrol car
after she put the young man in the back seat. The crowd later rioted,
throwing bottles, trash and rocks after backup law enforcement units
arrived, police said.

Riot police used pepper spray to disperse the crowd.

Ultimately, the rioters caused $35,000 to $50,000 in damage to four
Thurston County Sheriff's patrol units, including one patrol car that
was overturned and damaged beyond repair.

The suspect, who was identified by police, was released at the scene
Friday morning, but might still be summoned to court, Evergreen
officials said. The suspect's name has not been released.

Hauser, 21, said her friend, a young black man, was taken away by a
female Evergreen police officer during the show because a young female
concertgoer pointed him out to the officer as the person who had
struck her during a fight that happened about an hour and a half earlier.

"Some girl comes into the crowd and shows the police officer, the
Evergreen officer, 'that's the guy, that's him,' " Hauser said.
"That's when the police officer handcuffs him and escorts him out of
the gym."

Hauser said the fight started during one of the opening acts because
her group of friends was blocking a student security volunteer who was
trying to push past them to get at someone who was smoking marijuana
in the crowd. Hauser said her friends did not know and were not with
the person who was smoking, but they resisted the security volunteer
who used force to get by them because he did not announce himself as a
security volunteer and was not wearing a badge or any kind of

Hauser said the security volunteer took a swing at another of her
friends -- a white male who was not arrested and left the concert
before Dead Prez took the stage -- and he responded in kind with his
fists. Then, a larger melee ensued between two groups of people in the
front rows of the concert, she said. Hauser emphasized that she did
not see her black friend -- the one whom an Evergreen officer later
tried to arrest -- do anything during the fight.

Hauser said that even though she heard the Dead Prez members ask the
crowd if they were going to do anything about the arrest, she does not
think the band was responsible for inciting the crowd to riot.

"They weren't trying to incite the crowd at all," Hauser said, though
she doesn't remember the exact words. "They said you know 'this is
Evergreen, this type of stuff doesn't happen here.'"

Dead Prez reaction

Dead Prez's management on Monday denied that either member of the
hip-hop duo -- Stic.Man and M1 -- exhorted the crowd to riot.

Scott Beibin, of Dead Prez's management group, Evil Twin Booking
Agency in Philadelphia, said the only thing that Dead Prez members
said to the crowd was, "Get his badge number." The members did not
know that a female officer was making the arrest, he said.

"They did not ask for this," Beibin said of Friday morning's riot at
Evergreen. "This is not a gift to the band. This is not what they
wanted. This is the opposite of what we wanted. We try to create good,
socially conscious, memorable events at which people feel included. We
do not encourage this type of thing."

Beibin said he worries that Evergreen will not have Dead Prez or any
other hip-hop act back to play again at the school because of Friday's
riot. Beibin also faulted the Evergreen officer for targeting a black

"The inappropriate response by the campus security to randomly arrest
a black kid, just because there were some people causing trouble,
sends a very bad message," Beibin said.

Beibin said that in the past his management group has booked at
Evergreen socially conscious hip-hop acts and other types of events,
such as the Lost Film Festival and speaking engagements by the
journalist Greg Palast, and the former Weather Underground member
Bernardine Dohrn.

"I'm doubtful that they will allow another hip-hop act at the college,
which is really unfortunate," Beibin said.

Beibin confirmed that Dead Prez has a song called "(Expletive) the
Police," and that the song is part of their normal set list. But
Beibin said he does not know at what point they performed that song in
the concert at Evergreen.

Evergreen statement

Evergreen spokesman Jason Wettstein said Monday that the school does
not blame hip-hop for causing the riot. He added that the college
plans to continue to book concerts for all types of music.

"We've had a number of hip-hop concerts in the past and never had any
incidents," Wettstein said. "It's not about the type of music, it's
about personal responsibility."

Hauser said that when she followed her arrested friend outside the
concert, the Evergreen officer acted professionally and appropriately
when she was surrounded by close to 70 people who were telling her she
had the wrong suspect and even accused her of racial profiling.

"I'm really impressed with the way the officer handled the situation
before she had backup," Hauser said. "She was very calm about it. I
would have been freaking out."

Wettstein said the officer, "acted entirely appropriately given the

Hauser said her friend "didn't really know what was going on while he
was sitting in that police car."

What's next

It was unclear Monday whether the young man who was arrested, then
released early Friday morning, would be charged with a crime.
Wettstein confirmed Monday that Evergreen Police Chief Ed Sorger was
on vacation Friday. A person who answered the phone at Evergreen
Police Services said Sorger would be back at work today.

Thurston County Sheriff's Lt. Chris Mealy said Monday that sheriff's
detectives who are investigating the destruction of the sheriff's
patrol units during the riots would continue their investigation today.

Beibin said Monday he would try to get a statement from Dead Prez, but
added that they are hesitant to speak because of the fear that they
might face legal problems. Beibin added that people have sent him
links of footage from the concert, and it is clear Dead Prez did not
incite the crowd.

"If the police want to make up baloney, it's easy enough to find the
truth on the Internet," Beibin said.
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