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Downtown Los Angeles faces unruly crowd in front of Regent Theatre

An offer of free admission to a downtown Los Angeles theatre led to a large crowd outside that became unruly when told there were not enough seats in the performance for all of them, a police sergeant said today.

About 1,800 to 2,000 people gathered outside The Regent, at 448 S. Main St. before 10 p.m. for “some kind of free concert,” said Sgt. Ed Kinney of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Central Station. The problem was that the venue only holds 400 to 450 people.

“They were mad that they couldn’t get in,” Kinney said. The crowd started becoming unruly and “they took over the street” at 10:10 p.m. and an officer monitoring the crowd called for help.

After officers ordered the crowd to disperse “quite a lot of bottles were flying,” he said. Officers began to push the crowd down streets surrounding the venue to disperse the crowd and arrested one person for throwing bottles at officers and two more for failing to disperse, Kinney said. Two others were arrested for alcohol-related offenses.

Some officers and crowd members suffered minor scrapes in the incident, he said.

“The (Regent) owners were told to shut it down,” he said.

Offering a free concert in a limited venue was a mistake, Kinney said. “If you offer something for free what do you think is going to happen?”

In an unrelated incident, an abandoned backpack was found at Sixth and Main streets at the same time police were trying to clear the unruly theatre crowd on Main Street, Kinney said.

Officers sealed off a square block and waited for the LAPD bomb squad, which examined the bag and found it to be full of clothes, he said.

Sixth and Main streets were reopened at about 1:35 a.m. he said.

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