clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

FREAKNIK PARTY MARRED BY RAIN, LOOTING, CLASHES

Rain chased the huge Freaknik spring street party indoors into a shopping and entertainment complex Saturday as police kept watch after a night of looting and two shootings.

Eleven people were arrested in the Friday night looting, which damaged 11 stores in the area, Police Chief Beverly Harvard said. Two men were arrested in the shoot-ings.Freaknik was expected to draw more than 200,000 black college students and other youths to downtown Atlanta. Traffic jams and unruly behavior in past years led officials to close off 200 blocks and crack down on lawbreakers.

Afternoon thunderstorms forced the throngs into the Underground Atlanta complex, where police clashed with a gang of looters Friday night.

Mayor Bill Campbell blamed the violence on "a few lawless thugs," not the partygoers, and said those arrested "appear to be local, dedicated, freelance hoodlums who took advantage of the crowd."

Four young men from North Carolina - who gave their names only as Bill, Melvin, Cyrus and K-fu - said they went to Underground Atlanta to see "what's going on."

"We're here to have fun, just like they do at Daytona Beach," K-fu said as he shouldered his video camera.

About a dozen stores at Underground Atlanta remained closed Saturday because of the looting. General manager Robert Grahamslaw said he would close the complex early because of fears for employees' safety.

By Saturday afternoon, 93 people had been arrested on 325 charges including traffic violations, disorderly conduct, theft, possession of drugs and concealing weapons.

Two people not connected with Freaknik were shot late Friday while walking downtown. Their conditions were not immediately known.

Authorities also were investigating reports that two girls, ages 13 and 14, were sexually assaulted Friday.

The disturbances didn't keep tourists away from the Underground.