Eull: City Police had no choice but to put an end to loud concert

Published 5:53 pm Wednesday, October 8, 2003

By By JAN GRIFFEY / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- Niles City Administrator Terry Eull said Niles police officers don't deserve the criticism being dished out by some about their actions in responding to an overwhelming number of citizens' complaints about a concert at Riverfront Park on Friday, Sept. 19.
City Police -- after repeated attempts to get members of the band Umphrey McGee to turn down the volume -- made the band stop playing about 40 minutes before the concert was scheduled to end, Eull said.
He said the city's police department received numerous complaints from residents up to 15 blocks away from the park, including from officials at Lakeland Hospital, and that officers at least three times tried to get the band to tone it down before finding it necessary to take action to stop the extremely loud music.
Bryan Williams, promoter of the event billed as the Harvest Festival, then cancelled performances scheduled for Saturday night at Riverfront Park.
Critics have complained police acted inappropriately and that stopping the concert because of noise complaints may discourage others who want to use the venue for performances in the future.
Eull said those criticisms simply aren't the case.
Eull placed the blame for ending the concert on the band and Williams, the event's promoter.
Niles City Police Chief Ric Huff recently completed a review of the officers' handling of the situation.
He said the police department received complaints from residents who live as far away as 15 blocks from Riverfront Park, as well as from officials at Lakeland Hospital, Niles.
Niles City Police Capt. Jim Merriman, a veteran Niles police detective, in a report to Huff and Eull, said from 10:01 to 10:06 p.m., the city's police dispatch logged 23 complaint calls about the noise.
Merriman wrote that in the past several years of music events at the amphitheater, only one other time did police have to respond to noise complaints.
Merriman also wrote that the city's police department had nothing to do with the promoter's cancelling the following night's activities planned for Riverfront Park. He wrote that he had planned to try to contact the promoter in an attempt to "work out something about the noise level," but was informed the event already had been cancelled.
Eull said city police were left with no choice but to end the concert.