Providence, RI Allows Jim Jones Performance, Show Almost Canceled Due To Security Concerns

The city of Providence,

RI approved a license yesterday (Mar. 7), allowing The Street Dreams Tour to take

place at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center this month, despite warnings from police that

Jim Jones’ affiliation with the Bloods street gang could cause trouble. The

tour, which kicked off Saturday in Charlotte, NC, features Jones, as well as rappers

Lil’ Wayne, Bryan "Birdman" Williams, Young Jeezy and Rich Boy. According

to The Providence Journal, police warned the city Board of Licenses during

a public hearing at City Hall, where Detective Sgt. Michael Wheeler, leader of

the police’s street gang unit identified Jones as a member of the Bloods. Wheeler

said that the Providence metropolitan area is a haven for local Crip gang members.

He warned the board that there was potential for violence, because of Jones association

with the Bloods.“[The

show] presents an extreme threat to public safety…based on the propensity

of the artists and their following to violence,” added police Lt. Timothy

Lee. Board

member and State Rep. Gordon Fox, House Majority, leader, disagreed and he and

other board members approved the license, but not without making it clear that

security would be tight during the show, which takes place Mar. 29. In

addition to security officers and arena staff, a "small army" or police

will also be on hand to maintain the peace. Some

board members hesitated because the show is being promoted by Lowell Williams,

an 18-year-old music producer and promoter from South Providence, who has found

local financial backers to put the event together. Lawrence

Lepore, General Manager of the Dunkin’ Donuts Center, said that despite his age,

Willams was capable of the running the show, which is being put together with

extreme caution. The

artists arrive to the venue by bus and they are not allowed in the arena until

about 10 minutes before their scheduled performance. Additionally,

the Dunkin’ Donuts Center has banned alcohol sales for the evening. The board

also demanded that each performer sign a binding contract, which bars any appearances

at post-show parties at nightclubs. Patrons

will also be searched upon entrance by security officers with metal detector,

while the performers will be searched at the backstage for guns and illegal drugs

as well.

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