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Jun 19, 2018 10:51 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Shinnecock Members Dispute Police Report Of Unruly Crowd On Reservation At The End Of U.S. Open

Jun 19, 2018 10:51 AM

After State Troopers responded to an unfounded call of three armed men walking down the street on the Shinnecock Indian Reservation on Sunday evening as the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills was wrapping up, they remained on the reservation after discovering what they said was an unruly crowd watching a concert.

Shinnecock officials scoffed at the Troopers’ claims, saying that everything was under control during a Caribbean music festival being held at the time and that police were only concerned that the event would disrupt the nearby golf tournament and hinder spectators trying to leave the area.

At 5:15 p.m., police said in a press release, Troopers were notified that three people were walking on West Gate Road on the reservation armed with guns. Although police were unable to find any evidence of guns, they discovered that a concert was being held on the reservation with approximately 2,000 people in attendance.

Police said the crowd as “unruly,” and in order to get it under control, Troopers remained on the scene. While there, the press release read, the Troopers responded to an aided case for a female concert goer who was unresponsive but breathing, a stolen motorcycle, a hit-and-run accident and multiple fights.

Despite a request, copies of the police reports providing details of each incident were not immediately provided to The Press.

Members of the Shinnecock Nation on Monday disputed the account of events put forward by State Police.

“There was not one single fight on the grounds or in the parking lots, and there was no arrests of anyone in attendance,” Tribal Trustee Lance Gumbs said on Monday. “We feel it was a spoof to make an unnecessary scene to embarrass the Nation’s event.”

Mr. Gumbs said the reservation was hosting a Caribbean music festival, and people were dancing the way that people dance in the Caribbean.

According to Mr. Gumbs, nobody would have been able to get into the concert on the reservation with a gun, because there was a 50-member outside security team and a tribal security team on the premises, patting down everyone who entered.

He added that the woman who passed out did so out of heat exhaustion, and the hit-and-run accidents were the same fender benders that happen at the U.S. Open and other large events regularly.

Lisa Goree, another member of the Shinnecock Nation, said the crowd was not “unruly.”

“I attended the concert as a tribal member and was there until the traffic exited the area,” Ms. Goree said in an email. “The crowd was never out of control, therefore, the police did not need to get it under control.”

The traffic was a concern of its own.

The event was unannounced, police said, and the many different police agencies on the East End for the golf tournament were worried that traffic issues would arise as both events were expected to let out at the same time.

Police said with the help of the Southampton Town Police, Suffolk County Sheriff’s department and Suffolk County Police, the State Troopers were able to maintain the safety of the golf and concert attendees while also ensuring an orderly flow of traffic out of the area.

“Everyone had a great time at the event,” Mr. Gumbs said. “It’s not our concern about the U.S. Open traffic when we were never consulted about it in the first place or included in the planning stages. The Shinnecock Nation is going to do what is in our best interest when we were excluded from all planning. We don’t have to notify anyone about what we are doing in that same vein.”

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