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Chicago police: 'We don't work as bouncers' at Lollapalooza

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Has everyone dried out and washed up?

The day after a rainy, muddy conclusion to Lollapalooza 2011 -- read our full report -- the Chicago Police Dept. has released a range of arrests during the three-day weekend concert festival in Grant Park.

As we've reported, last year's individual fence jumpers turned into this year's online-organized flash mobs -- large groups of fans who gather and overwhelm a section of fence, using strength in numbers to insure better penetration and unpaid admission. Some groups were as large as 200-300 people.

But Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy on Monday told the Sun-Times' Rummana Hussain that only a total of 20 to 30 people were arrested during the three-day Lollapalooza festivities.

While McCarthy said gate crashing at Lollapalooza is not "acceptable," he said officers assigned to the private event are not "bouncers."

"We're there to provide for the public safety," he said. "We don't work as bouncers for admission purposes."

The actual bouncers are the folks employed by Safety Service Systems (S3). They're the blue T-shirts seen here apprehending some other gate-crashers.

In the YouTube video below -- one of several posted during the weekend, purportedly showing various groups of young people storming fences at the festival --one such mob coalesces near a vulnerable section of fence, rushes it (as you can see in the slo-mo, they had a plank to help them ramp up the chain-link) and streams inside the festival's perimeter. Near the end, two police paddy wagons arrive, but as the poster of the video writes: "Two paddy wagons came, but no one was actually taken away. It seemed like if you were under 17 years old they let you go , after searching you. 18 years old and up seemed to get tickets."

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This is my second straight year at Lollapalooza. I can't comment about what the CPD officers were doing outside, but inside their behavior has been consistent between 2010 and 2011. All of the CPD officers I saw - as I walked around Grant Park many times - stayed to the main thoroughfares and stages. On some of the smaller side walkways with no CPD presence, I saw people smoking pot and relieving themselves in the bushes - both urinating _and_ defecating. I only saw one action take by the police: While waiting for the Foo Fighters to take the stage, CPD officers stopped people from sliding in the mud.

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Thomas Conner

Thomas Conner covers pop music for the Chicago Sun-Times. Contact him via e-mail.

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This page contains a single entry by Thomas Conner published on August 8, 2011 2:28 PM.

Lollapalooza 2011: The report was the previous entry in this blog.

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