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Security Breach at US Bank Stadium Blamed on ‘Design Flaw’

January 11, 2017 11:07 PM

Protesters, who rappelled from the roof of U.S. Bank Stadium after smuggling 65 feet of rope and a large banner through security, did not breach stadium security policies but did expose a “design flaw” in the new billion dollar stadium, according to the head of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authorities (MSFA).

Michele Kelm-Helgen testified before state lawmakers Wednesday about security issues related to the New Year’s Day incident in which protesters unveiled a large banner calling for U.S. Bank to divest from the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline project.

Kelm-Helgen said a group of five protesters did not technically breach gate security because the contraband used to rappel from the roof was not made of metal and therefore would not have set off the metal detectors.

Instead, Kelm-Helgen blamed the breach on design issues with secured ladders.

“There is actually a ladder to get up to the roof on the ridge truss,” Kelm-Helgen said, adding that preventative measures limiting access to the ladder were not sufficient.

“(The protesters) were able to scale that and get up there so that is what is being addressed, is the design issue that allowed them to get (to the truss),” she said.

Kelm-Helgen said security will be added in vulnerable areas and a full security consultation will be done to identify other potential areas of exposure.

Dr. Stephen Ross, a professor at Concordia University who has studied fan interaction and sports stadium use, says the protesters exposed a “very non-traditional” risk.

“In this case I don’t think it was a design flaw with the stadium itself,” adding it would be easy to overlook such an issue during construction.

Ross said he is more concerned that the protesters were not flagged while entering the stadium.

“While there were no policies against bringing those materials in (to the stadium), it seems interesting the size and the amount of materials needed was able to get through the gates,” Ross said.

Kelm-Helgen addressed that concern during her testimony at the capitol, saying it would require security to have fans take off their coats before entering the stadium because the protesters wrapped the rope and banner around their bodies.

“Even then it could be under a football jersey,” she added.

Brawl at Arrowhead Stadium puts spotlight on fan safety at NFL venues

Glenn E. Rice On Dec 19, 2016
Source: McClatchy

Dec. 17–The cellphone video of a brawl Dec. 8 at Arrowhead Stadium had everything: Chiefs fans and Raiders fans, swearing and shoving, punches flying and bodies cascading down several rows of seats.

It all ended when several Kansas City police officers came into the frame.

The video quickly went viral and became a hot topic on sports websites and radio talk shows. It also reignited ongoing concerns about fan safety at NFL stadiums.

An analysis by the Washington Post in October showed a slight uptick in the number of arrests per-game from 2011 to 2015. Last year saw 6.34 arrests per-game league-wide, the Post reported.

San Diego Chargers games led the league, averaging 24.6 arrests. The Seattle Seahawks were on the bottom with 0.8 of an arrest per game.

The Chiefs came in at No. 18, in the middle of the league, with 1.8 arrests per game, according to the Post.

The number of arrests don’t necessarily indicate a stadium is more or less violent or dangerous, the newspaper said. Its research found that some teams with the highest numbers have zero-tolerance policies.

This season, Kansas City police say they have arrested 16 persons during six home games, an average of 2.7 arrests per game. The arrests included ones for disorderly conduct, non-aggravated assaults, thefts from vehicles and trespassing.

The biggest day was Nov. 6, when five persons were taken into custody as the Chiefs defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars.

About 200 Kansas City police officers, both uniformed and plainclothes, patrol the stadium and parking lots at each game. Sometimes police will don the jerseys of opposing teams.

That force is supplemented by Jackson County deputies, private security guards, federal agents and other law enforcement officers.

With an average home-game attendance of more than 75,000, the number of fans packed into Arrowhead Stadium would be comparable to a large city in Missouri, said Major Tye Grant, who oversees off-duty Kansas City police officers working at home games.

“What we respond to out there and with that many people, it is probably well below the average of a normal city of that size during that time frame,” Grant said. “Find another city of that size, that has that many law enforcement officers working at any given time. Then add hundreds of private security — that has to be one of the safest places in the nation.”

Security for every home game is well planned, Grant said, and evaluations are done afterward to determine what worked and where improvements could be made.

“I approach each game from a security standpoint as if it was the Super Bowl,” Grant said. “So there’s not a whole lot that has to change from one game to the other because we approach them as a major event.”

Grant said police made no arrests during the Chiefs-Raiders fistfight. The officers’ first priority was to break up the fight to ensure that fans not involved were not injured.

“After I make sure everybody is safe and if there is an opportunity to arrest somebody, then that is what we will do,” Grant said.

In addition to a highly visible security presence at Arrowhead, the team educates fans with messages throughout the stadium promoting a code of conduct and encouraging fans to report incidents before they escalate.

The team asks fans to report problems using an anonymous text line. Fans can give their section number and the issue they want security staff to address.

The team also trains its guest-services staff to find ways to interact more with fans before problems arise. The NFL has sent evaluators to home games to review stadium security measures. One was present during the Raiders game.

Unruly fans are sometimes taken to a stadium-security office that has a holding room. They are kept there until a police wagon can take them to one of the city’s patrol stations.

“If we arrest somebody, or if somebody insists on being arrested for something and their actions make it necessary to arrest them, then that is something that is no different than if we were standing anywhere else in the city,” Grant said. “We handle it as appropriately as possible.”

Copyright 2016 – The Kansas City Star

3 slip rope, hooks past U.S. Bank Stadium

By |
PUBLISHED: January 3, 2017 at 6:04 pm | UPDATED: January 4, 2017 at 11:41 pm

Dakota Access Pipeline protesters used tickets to enter U.S. Bank Stadium for Sunday’s Vikings-Bears game and smuggled through security nylon rope, carabiners and the 40-foot vertical banner they unfurled after climbing a truss, according to stadium manager SMG.

SMG released three surveillance photos Tuesday showing climbers Sen Holiday and Karl Zimmermann Mayo entering the mobile express lane at the Legacy Gate and later walking through the north main concourse about an hour before they scaled the third-level truss behind one of the end zones.

U.S. Bank Stadium surveillance photos show Karl Zimmermann Mayo, right, and Sen Holiday next to him, in all black, bearing the anti-DAPL banner and climbing gear. (Courtesy of SMG)U.S. Bank Stadium surveillance photos show Karl Zimmermann Mayo, right, and Sen Holiday next to him, in all black, bearing the anti-DAPL banner and climbing gear. (Courtesy of SMG) Karl Scogin Zimmerman. Karl Zimmerman, 32, who was identified by police as Karl Mayo, was among three people arrested in connection with a protest during the Jan. 1. 2017, Minnesota Vikings game at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. Protesters climbed onto a stadium truss and unfurled a banner in opposition to the Dakota Access Pipleline project and U.S. Bank’s investment in it. (Photo courtesy Hennepin County Sheriff's office (Photo courtesy Hennepin County Sheriff's office)Karl ZimmermannZimmermann Mayo was shown wearing a black, waist-length winter coat inside the stadium while Holiday had removed her coat and was wearing a T-shirt in the concourse photos.

“Our investigation shows these individuals properly entered the stadium as ticketed guests through our gates,” SMG marketing manager Lisa Niess said in a statement. “The individuals brought in nylon rope, a small number of carabiners and a lightweight banner concealed on their person underneath winter clothing.

“These items were distributed among the group of protesters upon entry. These facts are consistent with interviews law enforcement officials conducted with one protester, upon being taken into custody.

Spectators are required to pass through metal detectors for all U.S. Bank Stadium events. Moreover, the NFL requires all tote bags to be clear plastic and no larger than 12 by 6 by 12 inches.“Screening procedures are designed to detect items that cause harm, including weapons and explosives,” Niess said. “They had nothing visible in their possession that violated U.S. Bank Stadium policies and had nothing that prevented them from clearing the security screening upon entry.”

Sen Nmn Holiday. Sen Holiday, 26, was among three people arrested in connection with a protest during the Jan. 1. 2017, Minnesota Vikings game at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. Protesters climbed onto a stadium truss and unfurled a banner in opposition to the Dakota Access Pipleline project and U.S. Bank’s investment in it. (Photo courtesy Hennepin County Sheriff's Department)Sen HolidayNiess said Holiday and Zimmermann Mayo “gained unauthorized access to the ridge truss by scaling regulation standard physical barriers designed to prevent entry. We have taken immediate steps to implement design changes to prevent any future unauthorized access.”

“We expect to make additional changes, as we continue to evaluate protocols to strengthen security here, and share our findings with other stadiums across the country,” Niess said.

Carabiners are hand-sized, spring-loaded clips that climbers and rescue workers use to thread and connect ropes for rappelling. Many are made of metal.

“We are not saying a metal detector wouldn’t go off when these individuals went through the security screening if they were carrying metal on their person,” Niess said in a follow-up email.

“Carabiners are not prohibited items to bring into U.S. Bank Stadium. If carabiners are put into the screening bins, similar to where you would place your cellphone or keys, they would not be stopped from entering U.S. Bank Stadium because they are not a prohibited item.”

Super Bowl LII is scheduled for Feb. 8, 2018, at U.S. Bank Stadium, and the security breach is drawing NFL scrutiny.

Spokesman Brian McCarthy said the league “will review all aspects of the incident to understand how it occurred.”

Minneapolis Deputy City Attorney Mary Ellen Heng said prosecutors have asked Minneapolis police to continue their investigation.

“A charging decision will not be made until the investigation is complete, which may take a week or two,” Heng said in a statement.

Carolyn Anne Philips Feldman. Carolyn Feldman, 27, was among three people arrested in connection with a protest during the Jan. 1. 2017, Minnesota Vikings game at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. Protesters climbed onto a stadium truss and unfurled a banner in opposition to the Dakota Access Pipleline project and U.S. Bank’s investment in it. (Photo courtesy Hennepin County Sheriff's Department)Carolyn Anne Philips FeldmanHoliday, Zimmermann Mayo and another alleged accomplice, Carolyn Feldman, were arrested shortly after Sunday’s game. They were jailed on suspicion of trespassing and gross misdemeanor burglary and released Monday.

An attorney representing the trio did not return a telephone call or email seeking comment.

“Safety of all U.S. Bank Stadium guests continues to be the primary concern of all stadium partners,” Niess said in the SMG statement. “We will continue to work together with the Minneapolis Police Department to further investigate this situation. It remains our intent to prosecute these individuals to the fullest extent of the law.”

Meanwhile, Holiday and Zimmermann Mayo held a news conference a block away from the stadium Tuesday to reiterate their demands that U.S. Bank divest its financing deals with builders of the stalled Dakota Access Pipeline.

They refused to answer questions about how they planned the stunt in front of 66,808 football fans, their climbing expertise, tactics or safety risks to them or spectators displaced as a precaution at the start of the second quarter.

No one was injured during the protest. However, eight rows of seats in Section 102 were evacuated below the protesters while dozens of Minneapolis police, firefighters and stadium security officers swarmed the base of the truss to strategize how to get the protesters down safely.

After the game ended, Zimmermann Mayo and Holiday descended from the truss and were arrested without incident as lingering fans cheered and heckled them.

The Vikings said 185 seats were evacuated. The team was reaching out to affected ticket buyers, including 71 season-ticket holders in Section 102, to offer full refunds. Fans who purchased the seats on the NFL ticket exchange also would be refunded, according to team spokesman Jeff Anderson.

“We are deeply concerned about Sunday’s incident,” the team said in a statement Tuesday. “The safety of our fans, players, coaches and game day staff is of the utmost importance. Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, SMG and Monterrey Security officials are currently leading the investigation to understand how this occurred.

“The Minneapolis Police Department is also investigating the matter, and we will withhold further comment until its investigation is complete and we have a full understanding of the facts. At that time we will look at the situation comprehensively so that all measures are taken to ensure such incidents do not happen again.”

Fatal shooting after Meek Mill concert in Conn.

CBS/AP December 31, 2016,

WALLINGFORD, Conn. – Two people are dead and two injured after a shooting outside a Connecticut theater late Friday night following a concert, police say.

A Wallingford police spokeswoman tells the Record Journal that officers responded to reports of shots fired outside the Oakdale Theatre after rapper Meek Mill performed. Officers found two dead and say the other two with non-life-threatening injuries were taken to hospitals.

Police haven’t released the names and ages of the four victims. The spokeswoman says no one is in custody. Authorities didn’t immediately release information on suspects or vehicles.

The shooting took place not long after 11 p.m. as the concert was letting out, CBS Hartford affiliate WFSB reported. Police said gunfire rang out near the theater in a parking lot adjacent to the venue.

The number of shooters remains unclear. Police believe that those involved attended the concert.

Meek Mill was not injured and isn’t believed to be connected to those involved.

Mill, whose real name is Robert Williams, was recently under house arrest after violating probation for the fourth time in eight years.

© 2016 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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