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Akon Attacks Fan At Concert


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I can't believe this happened where I grew up. I used to go to these concerts. They're thrown by the local radio station and usually got some big name talent.


Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Search for thrown fan continues

Boy's input may help tell whether incident is crime

By John W. Barry

Poughkeepsie Journal

FISHKILL - Fishkill police continue to look for the concertgoer who on Sunday was plucked out of the crowd at the KFEST concert, hoisted in the air by singer Akon and hurled back into the crowd.

"We're still waiting to identify whoever that is," said Fishkill Town Board member Steve Ferguson, the deputy supervisor, liaison to the police department and a former Fishkill village police officer. "We're looking to see if they want to press charges or file a complaint."

Ferguson spoke to the Journal at about 2 p.m. Tuesday.

The Fishkill police on Monday held discussions with the Dutchess County District Attorney's Office regarding the incident at KFEST, which was staged at Dutchess Stadium by Fishkill-based WSPK (104.7 FM).

Dutchess County Senior Distict Attorney Edward McLoughlin said his office is serving in an advisory role only at this stage of the police investigation, as it does on a routine basis with departments around the county.

"If and when they determine that something has occurred, they will forward the case to us and we will review that," McLoughlin said at about 2:15 p.m. today.

Fishkill police are looking for the KFEST concertgoer who on Sunday was plucked from the crowd by a security guard, directed toward Akon and then hoisted by Akon on his shoulders and hurled back into the audience.

Click on the link at the right to watch video footage of the incident.

Fishkill Police Detective Lt. John Berlingieri said talks have been held within the Fishkill Police Department regarding the possibility of questioning Akon about the incident, which occurred during Fishkill-based WSPK (104.7 FM)'s annual KFEST concert at Dutchess Stadium. Criminal charges are extremely unlikely against Akon, unless someone files a complaint.

"We're trying to identify that kid, just to find out whether or not we have any kind of criminal offense," Berlingieri said. "We are looking to speak to him. No victim. No crime."

Berlingieri said this morning that in order to pursue any criminal charges, a victim would have to step forward and file a complaint.

"It would be a pretty weak case if we based it just on the videotape," he said. "You need people to come forward and be a true victim."

Ferguson said the concert-goer can file a criminal complaint if he is 16 or older. But if he is younger than 16, his parents would have to file the complaint.

Ferguson said the concertgoer refused medical treatment by the Beacon Volunteer Ambulance Corps after he was tossed back into the crowd by Akon. The concert-goer was not hurt and left Dutchess Stadium immediately after the incident, he added.

"This is an ongoing investigation," Berlingieri said.

WSPK General Manager Jason Finkelberg said, "Certainly, we'll cooperate with anything they need from us."

Two messages have been left with Akon's publicist at Universal Motown record company.

During an April 12 concert in Trinidad, Akon was videotaped simulating sex with a girl invited onstage as part of his act. After the video was circulated widely on the Internet, it was revealed she was 14.

As a result of that incident, Verizon pulled out as a sponsor of Akon's recent tour with Gwen Stefani, with whom he performs on the hit song, "The Sweet Escape." Akon, whose latest album "Konvicted" has sold more than 1 million copies in the United States, said in a statement at the time he was sorry for the incident. He also said he did not know the girl was underage.

Finkelberg said he and members of his staff discussed "the Akon issues, the history," prior to KFEST.

"We did our due diligence," Finkelberg said. "We talked to everyone we could find. We were comfortable with the show."

Akon was one of several performers on the KFEST bill Sunday, which was the 13th year KFEST has been staged.

Finkelberg said he was at the concert but unaware of the Akon incident until contacted Sunday night by the Journal.

"I would have preferred he wouldn't have done that," Finkelberg said.

Video of the incident supplied to the Journal shows two Town of Fishkill police officers standing several feet away from where Akon threw the concertgoer. Neither officer appears to intervene in the incident from the moment the concertgoer was plucked from the crowd until he landed back in the crowd, after Akon tossed him. It is not clear what happened after the video ends.

Fishkill town board member Steve Ferguson is the deputy supervisor, the town board liaison to the police department and a former police officer in the Village of Fishkill. He said he was unaware of the incident prior to reading about it in Monday's Journal.

Police wore uniforms

Ferguson said Fishkill police officers were not on duty at KFEST, but were instead hired as private security by the concert promoter and through their employment contract allowed to wear their uniforms and use patrol cars while working at events in the town.

But, Ferguson said, "Police are on duty 24 hours a day."

Ferguson said he would review the video posted on www.poughkeepsiejournal.com and if necessary, investigate whether or not the officers responded appropriately.

"All I'm going to say is that there are 2-3 sides of every story," he said. "I'm going to look into it."

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