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Nine Arrested Following Disturbance at Concert on State FairgroundsSalem-News.com
Police arriving on the scene appeared to set off several fights, but some who attended suggest that the use of the term "Riot" is over the line.
(SALEM) - Eight adults and one juvenile were taken into custody by Oregon State Police and Salem Police Saturday evening after several fights broke out during a Hispanic Concert and dance held on State Fairgrounds property in Salem.
One person was transported to a local hospital for treatment of minor injuries, and the event was shut down following the incident.
The concert and dance were held at the Pavilion Building on the Oregon State Fairgrounds property. Police say a fight reportedly broke out around 9:00 PM.
Oregon State Police, Salem Police, and Keizer Police responded to the scene where an estimated crowd of 1,000 people had gathered for the event.
Tensions in the local Hispanic community have been rising, particularly since a local Spanish radio station, "La Pantera" was banned from taking part in the Marion County Fair in Salem. The word was out in the Hispanic community, and the fair was notably quieter than most years, with few Hispanic people in attendance spending their money, as predicted.
County Fair officials say there were problems last year with the crowd the radio station attracted, but local activists say the Hispanic people didn't generate problems worthy of banishment.
Yet they were determined to have been the source of the problems, and one person after another in the Hispanic communities of Oregon will tell you that only racism leads to such decisions.
Many attribute the motivation to ban Hispanics from participating in the Marion County Fair to the recent anti-immigration agenda from the Bush administration that they say has done so much to divide a nation once known for its prudent strides toward racial equality.
One man, who asked not to be named, said things are getting worse, "They don't see it through our eyes, we love our families as much as anyone else. First they want to deport our relatives and their children who were born here don't understand that. Then we're being banned from public events, and now we are called rioters when the police themselves stirred everybody up by overreacting to a single fight."
Police investigators say it was a personal dispute between two people that led to the initial fight. Oregon State Police and Salem Police were first to respond, but after their arrival they say other fights began to break out in the large crowd. Additional officers from Salem and Keizer, including the Salem Police civil disburbance response teams, responded to help restore order. Eight adults and one juvenile were arrested for charges including Riot, Assault, and Resisting Arrest. The adults were lodged in Marion County Jail and the juvenile detained in Marion County Juvenile Facility.
The three adults arrested for Riot included 22-year old Carlos Arreola of Newberg, 56-Heriberto Morales of Portland and 26-year old Jose Miranda-Diaz of Portland. In addition to the Riot charge, Carlos Arreola was also arrested for Resisting Arrest.
Police did not release the names of the other five adults and the juvenile. Greg Hastings with Oregon State Police says the names were not attained for the report that was issued.
The event organizer ended the concert as police and security remained on scene to prevent additional problems from developing as the crowd left. It reportedly took 90 minutes for the crowd to eventually leave.
According to Oregon law, a person commits the crime of Riot if while participating with five or more other persons the person enganges in tumultuous and violent conduct and thereby intentionally or recklessly creates a grave risk of causing public harm. Riot is a class C felony.
Hastings says the injury was not a result of police intervention, he does confirm that riot charges are a rare occurence.
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