You can’t say this wasn’t at least a possibility. Yesterday evening (July 30th), the NYPD prevented the Entertainers Basketball Classic from commencing, citing safety concerns, reports DNAInfo. Last week, a suspect now identified as Ricardo Laing of White Plains, NY, shot five people during the tournament held at the legendary Holcombe Rucker Park in Harlem. Despite additional security being acquired by the tournament’s organizers, the authorities were not having it, and the schedule games were cancelled.
“They came in here and said you have to get out,” said Entertainers founder and CEO Greg Marius. “It’s unfair. We are an international tournament.”
According to Marius, the usually violence free tournament is being unfairly stigmatized.
Marius said he felt police were trying to force him to get people to cooperate with the investigation, a power he feels he doesn’t have.
Police did not immediately comment Monday evening.
Hundreds of people could be seen running during a video of the shooting posted on WorldStarHipHop.com. NBA free agent and former New York Knick Nate Robinson was at the event but was not injured.
Marius said that on the day of the shooting there were fewer police officers and fewer metal barricades than in years past.
On Monday, two police officers stood near the entrance to the court, and a mobile command center and police van and car also sat outside the park.
Marius said the NYPD’s refusal to let the tournament continue was confusing because the alleged shooter is in custody and the gathering is normally free from violence.
“The last fist fight was in 1995 and we’ve never had a shooting,” Marius said. “The movie theater is still open,” he added, referring to the Aurora, Colo. shooting at a showing of “The Dark Knight Rises.”
Marius said three NBA players were interested in stopping by the tournament this week.
“They are not afraid because they know we are a safe tournament,” Marius said.
Some of the disappointed fans that came out to see yesterday’s games included players from a basketball all the way in Italy. Check out some photos from yesterday at Rucker Park in the gallery.
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