ALBANY, N.Y. - Police and those who were outside waiting access to a foam party at the Washington Avenue Armory describe a dangerous and chaotic scene. Some SUNY Albany students say safety was at risk for thousands as they were pushed up against barricades.
"There was a bunch of people fighting, yelling. Anyone small or short was really having a tough time in there," said SUNY Albany sophomore, Joseph Raffaele.
On Thursday night a crowd of around 2,000 people on Washington Avenue began to push and shove towards the entrance of the Armory. Albany Police decided to stop allowing entry into the party due to safety concerns, and that's when a riot broke out.
"My hair was being pulled, I was punching people yelling to get off," said SUNY Plattsburgh student, Nicole Felter.
"It was just chaos. People were running around going 'what the heck is going on' and we paid to get in. Nobody was getting answers so everyone was just upset," said SUNY Albany freshmen, Gerald Ventry.
Seven people were arrested, three for Riot in the 2nd-Degree and four for Disorderly Conduct. Two people who police say incited the riot were also charged with resisting arrest.
"I know there were people in the crowd who were freaking out from anxiety attacks and just so much pushing. People were just yelling and yelling, and yelling at the cops," said Felter.
Police and armory staff began pulling people to safety, injuring three officers in the chaos.
"Another officer, a little more serious, was taken to Albany Med after somebody threw a bleach-like liquid in his face causing him to lose visibility," said Steve Smith, spokesman for the Albany Police Department.
Police say this is not the first time they've been called to the Armory during events, and something has to change.
"Anytime we've had these raves at the Armory there have been issues. There are serious drug abuse issues as well as alcohol abuse and when you mix the two with large groups of people there's the potential for problems," said Smith.
Some students agree with Smith, that alcohol and drugs did play a factor.
"People are annihilation or intoxicated and emotions are tough and everything just goes nuts," said Ventry.
The problem, according to the Amory, was not getting people in fast enough.
"This one line just isn't conducive to get these three groups of people in the building quick enough. One of the changes that we're going to institute immediately is creating three separate points of entrance into the building," said Michael Corts with the Armory.
The Armory says it will also now have additional security for future events and pre-event meetings with Albany Police and EMT's.
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