Rap Sheet 

Is Hiphop to Blame for Last Weekend's Shooting?

Portland Police are again mulling whether hiphop music leads to violence, after four people were shot following the Keak da Sneak concert at the Roseland Theater in the early hours of Saturday morning, August 26.

The shootings happened in full view of a beefed-up police presence in a parking lot on NW 6th—one block from the Roseland—and stemmed from an altercation that started inside the venue after there was some "posturing onstage" between artists with rival gang affiliations, according to police.

The Roseland is now being served with a chronic nuisance letter from Central Precinct Commander Mike Reese, meaning the venue's representatives must meet with the cops to discuss a strategy for future concerts—a tactic that has not been used in the past by the Central Precinct.

"In the future we are going to have to work more closely with the Roseland," Reese said Tuesday. "And ask the Oregon Liquor Control Commission [OLCC] to have some restrictions in place when they have events of this kind."

These issues first came up last month when 12 shots were fired near the Roseland after an E-40 concert, prompting Central Precinct Lieutenant Todd Wyatt to say: "The last two times we've had a rap concert at Roseland, we've had problems. I think we should have an honest, open conversation about that: Rap concerts lead to fights."

In preparation for last weekend's show, police decided to "set the tone beforehand." But on Tuesday, Wyatt reiterated his hiphop concerns. "It's not a coincidence that all these shootings happen after a rap concert. We don't want to say that because we don't want to be labeled as racist, but if you line up the shows, and line up the numbers, there's a correlation," Wyatt says.

The Roseland's David Leiken responds: "We kept guns out of our venue, and had the cooperation of the police, which I felt good about. But if you have all that, and it doesn't work, where do you go?"

Leiken says it's yet to be decided whether a Young Dro concert, scheduled at the Roseland for September 12th—a show Leiken acknowledges is likely to draw a gang-related crowd—will be allowed to proceed.

"I realize we're going to take heat either way—from the hiphop crowd, or from the OLCC and the police," Leiken says. "But the fact of the matter is, I don't feel good about the situation right now, and in my mind, public safety is number one."

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