Hundreds of Hudson County police called to Red Bull Arena in Harrison to break up ‘melees’


Hundreds of Hudson County police officers were called to the Red Bull Arena in Harrison yesterday to break up “melees” that saw about a dozen people sustain superficial injuries.

Yesterday, a double header soccer match was held at Red Bull arena. The match featured two teams from Honduras, Olympia and Montagua, and two teams from Columbia, America de Cali and Medellin.

The first match was scheduled to start at 4:30. That match included the two Honduran teams, Olympia and Montagua.

Prior to the match, spectators gathered in neighboring lots around the arena to tailgate. As the start of the match approached, two large groups of supporters, one from each team, clashed in the parking lot, according to Harrison Police Det. Lt. Charles Schimpf.

Rocks and debris were thrown back and forth between the two groups, prompting a quick police response. As police units responded to the parking lot, additional fans rushed to join in.

A request for mutual aid from surrounding towns was made and additional police units arrived to assist in dispersing the crowds. One civilian was treated for a head injury and one officer suffered a minor injury to his hand after being struck by thrown rocks.

No arrests were made, and a suspect could not be identified. The crowds were dispersed, and they made their way into the arena.

“Based on the pregame behavior of the fans and the history of unrest between the two teams, a request through the New Jersey State Police, Regional Operations & Intelligence Center was made and additional police and tactical units from the region were dispatched to Red Bull arena to assist with crowd control,” Schimpf explained.

“During the match there were multiple altercations in the seating area and on the concourse. Those incidents were quickly resolved by security and police personnel inside of the arena.”

At the end of the first match, fans from opposing teams coming led as they exited the arena. It was during this time that multiple altercations and fights occurred in and around the arena.

Police units were dispatched to various locations to disperse the crowds and to attend to those who were injured during the melees. A total of nine civilians were injured during those incidents. They were transported to the hospital for further evaluation and treatment.

One police officer was struck with a rock, he was evaluated and remained at the arena. Order was quickly restored, and the second match began.

During the second match between two teams from Columbia, America de Cali and Medellin, there were no altercations or police action required.

At the conclusion of the second match, a large contingency of officers from throughout Hudson County, The New Jersey State Police, and surrounding areas were present to facilitate the orderly exit of spectators from the arena. The stadium and surrounding area was cleared of spectators without incident.

Based on Facebook Live videos from RLS Metro Breaking News, responding agencies also included the Bayonne, Jersey City, and Port Authority Police Departments, along with the Hudson County Sheriff’s Office.

The parking lots were then cleared of lingering tailgaters and all police units stood down, noted Schimpf.

“Based on victim and doctor interviews conducted at the hospital by the Harrison Police department, all injuries sustained during all of the altercations were superficial, non-life threatening and caused by blunt force,” he added.

“All victims were treated and released from the hospital. Any earlier reports of multiple stabbings were unfounded. At this time no arrest have been made.”