Officers assaulted before concert

Kati Jividen and David Roepke

In addition to the more than 20 drug-related arrests at Friday’s Phish concert, the Department of Public Safety also experienced more than several assaults reported in connection with the event.

“It certainly was an increase in activity compared to what we saw when Phish performed in Ames approximately two years ago,” said Jerry Stewart, DPS associate director. “We had some arrests, but I don’t remember incidents involving assaults on officers or citizens [last time].”

Four DPS officers who were patrolling the parking lot on foot were assaulted by a large group of concert-goers before the concert began, Stewart said.

The officers were punched and kicked by the individuals, causing bruises and abrasions. The officers did remain on duty for the duration of the concert, he said.

Stewart said he doesn’t believe those involved in the assaults were students at Iowa State.

“The lots where these incidents occurred contained many fans who were from out of state,” he said.

Another incident was reported to DPS at 9:44 p.m., when three people were assaulted at the intersection of South Fourth Street and Elwood Drive.

“Three individuals, who were believed to be concert attendees, were walking through the Iowa State Center lots, and words were exchanged between those and others in the parking area,” Stewart said. “The three were chased out of the parking lot and into the intersection, where two were struck with fists and were kicked.”

Those involved in the altercation were in the intersection trying to flag down passing motorists to report the incident.

David Pratt, 20, 826 Dickinson St. #1, said he was nearly assaulted while driving near Hilton on Friday night before the concert.

“It was crazy,” he said. “I was driving from my apartment to my girlfriend’s place on [South Fourth Street] when about 10 guys jumped out in front of my car.”

Pratt said one of the individuals, who he described as looking “punk-like, like skateboarders,” put both of his hands up, signaling Pratt to stop.

“I slowed down and came to a stop and this guy come running toward my car, jumps up almost on the hood, then ran around to the passenger side of the car,” he said. “He was hitting the window trying to get me to open the door. Then he grabbed the passenger side door handle and tried to get in my car.”

Pratt said he then accelerated quickly, leaving the group behind because he was scared they were going to hurt him or his car.

Stewart said he believes some of the concert’s violent behavior may be attributed to Phish’s rising popularity and increasingly mainstream audience.

“[Our] speculation is that Phish is attracting more of a mainstream following,” he said. “Traditional followers of Phish were a fairly mellow crowd. At least some of these attendees appeared to be more aggressive. We routinely check with previous venues to determine whether problems have occurred, and no similar reports were received.”