Brixton: Three in critical state and one arrest after crush say police
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Three people are in a critical condition and one person has been arrested following a suspected crowd crush at a concert in south London – with police confirming an “urgent investigation” is now underway to establish what happened. In a statement outside Brixton police station on Friday afternoon, Chief Superintendent Colin Wingrove also said that a police officer who was present at the scene is facing an investigation.
He said one person had been arrested on suspicion of assaulting a police officer and that three people were in a critical condition in hospital following the incident, down from four reported by the force earlier on Friday.
Mr Wingrove also said an incident in which an officer was “apparently seen to push a member of the public” is currently under review by the force’s director of professional standards.
He explained: “Some of our officers provided first aid and CPR to members of the public in order to save lives.
“Eight people were taken to hospital with what are thought to be crushing injuries and our thoughts and prayers are with them and their families.
“An urgent investigation is currently underway led by detectives from our Specialist Crime Command and cordons remain in place as officers continue to work at the scene.
“I am sure you can appreciate this is still a fast moving and evolving picture and we are working to establish the events that led up to last night’s incident.
“We are also aware of a vast amount of footage on social media and of course this will be examined as part of the investigation along with body worn video that officers have as well.
Referring to video footage circulating online which appears to show a policeman pushing a woman, he continued: “I can confirm that an incident involving one of our officers apparently seen to push a member of the public is currently under review by our Directorate of Professional Standards and another incident where a member of the public was seen to assault an officer has led to the arrest of that member of the public.
“I can also conform that there were no police dogs or dog handlers at the scene last night.
“We are establishing an online portal on our website later today. There were 4,000 potential witnesses present at the time of this incident and we want to urge any members of the public with information to come forward. We need your information as we try to establish what happened as quickly as we can.”
A total of eight people were taken to hospital after a crowd attempted to gain entry without tickets, the Metropolitan Police previously confirmed, with three of them still seriously ill.
Two who were less seriously injured were treated at the scene.
Nigerian artist Asake said he was “praying” for those injured during the incident midway through his show at the O2 Academy Brixton on Thursday night.
Asake, whose real name is Ahmed Ololade, said in a statement on Instagram: “My heart is with those who were injured last night and caused any form of discomfort. I pray you get well soonest. I am also in the process of reaching out to individuals.
“I still do not have the full brief from the venue management themselves as to what led to the disruption at the entrance of the Brixton Academy, but we are thankful that all was peaceful at the end. For my people who enjoyed the beginning of my performance, I am sorry that it was cut short.
“Thank you for your unbelievable love, London. I love you too much! I’m looking forward to seeing you again in a bit!”
Asake was recently nominated for BBC Radio 1’s Sound of 2023 award, for artists breaking through in the UK Ahead of the gig, he had posted on Twitter asking fans not to come to the venue unless they had a valid ticket.
The concert was the third of three sold-out dates at the 4,921-standing capacity venue and concluded a run of UK dates. Footage posted online showed large crowds outside the building on Thursday night, with many people holding up mobile phones and filming the scene.
In other video content, the crowd inside the venue could be heard booing when an announcement was made from the stage saying the show was being stopped.
A woman involved in the crush, who spoke to the BBC after being admitted to hospital with suspected internal bleeding, said: “I couldn’t breathe and I completely passed out. I thought I was dead. I took my last breath and I could not get any more oxygen. I was so scared.
“I was just queuing up to give them my ticket and then the crowd out here was insane, they just came and pushed and I just fell down.”
John, 32, who lives next to the O2 and declined to give his surname, said police arrived after the gig was cancelled.
“I saw everyone at the front door of Brixton Academy, (then) everything just stopped,” he said.
“It looked like the gig had been cancelled, and then some commotion, some pushing and shoving, and the police came shortly after. That’s when it kicked off and became aggressive.”
He added: “You could tell there was tension.”
He said people trying to get into the O2 had broken the glass of the front doors.
“People at the front of the Brixton Academy were really pushing and shoving and trying to break through the door and force their way in,” he said.
“The glass of the doors was broken.”
Lambeth police previously said emergency services attended the venue in Stockwell Road following reports shortly after 9.30pm of injuries after “a large crowd attempted to gain entry without tickets”.
Scotland Yard said police officers, London Ambulance Service and London Fire Brigade attended the scene and found “a number of people with injuries believed to have been caused by crushing”.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan tweeted that his “thoughts are with all those affected by the awful incident at Brixton Academy”.
Asake was described on the venue’s website as “one of the hottest breakout stars from Nigeria” and is touring his debut album, Mr Money With The Vibe.
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