Reports of Tramplings at Howard Yardfest (Updated)
The music at Howard University's homecoming Yardfest concert temporarily ceased this afternoon amid reports of people being trampled. According to a Metropolitan Police Department spokesman, police received a call at around 3:17 p.m. reporting that people were trying to ram through barricades on 6th Street and Howard Place NW.
The D.C. Firefighters Association tweeted that multiple people were trampled at 2400 4th Street Northwest.
This is the first year the university charged an admission fee to attend the Homecoming concert. Tickets cost $5. As of a few moments ago, the concert appeared to be back on, with Big Sean taking the stage.
Update, 5:58 p.m. An MPD spokesman says seven people were injured in the incident and taken to hospitals–five civilians and two MPD officers. An officer on scene confirmed that the concert is over capacity, and they are not letting any more people in, even if they have tickets.
Students say officers used some kind of pepper spray to control the crowd at some point as people were getting trampled, though MPD would not confirm or deny that.
"I think they should have been prepared for these problems, because usually Yardfest is free," says Beatrice Bangura, a senior at Morgan State University, who bought tickets and drove in from Baltimore to see the concert.
Update, 4:54 p.m. An MPD spokeswoman says that two MPD members sustained minor injuries during the incident, and that five others were also injured. (The Post is reporting that at least five people were injured and several people were transported to a hospital.)
Meanwhile, Howard spokeswoman Kerry-Ann Hamilton seemed to attribute the scrum to the concert exceeding its capacity:
The Yard Fest is oversubscribed. Public Safety officials have restored order and the concert has resumed. Four people received minor injuries as attendees attempted to gain access after the venue reached capacity. They were treated on the scene. One person was taken to the hospital.
These Instagram videos from this afternoon might lead one to reach the same conclusion:
Ally Schweitzer contributed reporting; photo by Perry Stein