February 15, 2010

At Furthur Concert, Police Arrest Far More Than Usual

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Sunday night’s Furthur concert in Barton Hall, which attracted Deadheads from around the country, resulted in an unusually high number of drug and alcohol related arrests.

Concert organizers sold 5,000 tickets and police estimate that an additional 1,000 to 1,500 fans stood outside Barton Hall without tickets, hoping to gain admission to the sold-out concert. Many of the band’s followers spent the night partying in the parking garage on Campus Rd., said Kathy Zoner, chief of the Cornell University Police Department.

“We certainly had a couple of large drug-related arrests,” she said. “We’ll be spending about three days doing the paperwork from this night.”

Many of the people arrested came from outside the Ithaca area, according to the crime log. “I don’t even think we arrested any students,” Zoner said. Few actual ticket-holders were arrested, she added.

After the crowds cleared yesterday morning, police also found nitrous oxide tanks left behind in the parking garage. Some illegal drug users inhale nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas, in order to get high.

Many people who partied in the parking garage Sunday night also used the structure as a restroom, Zoner said. University officials have a “massive cleanup underway” to remove the mess, she said.

CUPD sent an email to building administrators Thursday advising them to be “extra vigilant in securing [their] buildings” during the weekend to prevent fans at the concert from breaking in. No information about potential building break-ins was available last night.

Many individuals arrested Sunday appear to have traveled a long distance to spend the night at Cornell. According to CUPD’s crime log, a man from Waynesboro, Virginia, was charged with criminal possession of marijuana and a controlled substance after his arrest in the parking garage. Another man arrested in the parking garage, charged with unlawful possession of marijuana, lived in Wheeling, West Virginia. A man from Seattle, Washington was arrested on West Ave. and charged with criminal mischief and disorderly conduct.

Sunday was the first time Furthur, which was founded in 2009 by original Grateful Dead members Bob Weir and Phil Lesh, performed at Cornell. The Grateful Dead first came to Cornell in 1977, when they performed their famous “Barton Hall ’77” concert.

Original Author: Michael Linhorst