OGDEN, Utah (AP) -- The FBI has launched an investigation into possible civil rights abuses that may have occurred during a riot at a rap concert last year in which eight adults and two minors were arrested, officials said.
The federal investigation was prompted by a civil rights complaint to the U.S. Justice Department filed by Elbert Gregory of Ogden, the father of three of the arrested men.
Six defendants, all of whom are black, were charged with third-degree felony riot and related misdemeanors for allegedly fighting with police at the June 27 hip-hop concert at Ogden's Union Station. Two others pleaded guilty to misdemeanor riot charges in plea bargains in October.
"It's our responsibility to look into the allegations to see if they warrant a full-blown investigation," said FBI spokesman George Dougherty in Salt Lake City.
The investigation was preliminary, he said.
Gregory said the FBI took statements and release forms for medical records from Gregory's son, Michael, and stepson Cory Colon. Another son, David Gregory, 20, is being held without bail in the Weber County Jail because of a warrant for fleeing probation on an unrelated charge in California, he said.
All three were treated at the hospital for cuts and bruises after the incident, Gregory said.
"They pulled some of Cory's hair out ... David is still having headaches from having his head slammed on a car," he said.
A coalition of black community leaders has called for an independent investigation into the 30-minute melee that started after police arrested the concert promoters after allegedly being denied entry to the concert to check for possible alcohol and drug violations. Police allege the scuffle quickly escalated into physical confrontations, requiring an additional 50 police officers dispatched to the scene.
Ogden Police Chief Jon Greiner said he had never seen allegations of civil rights violations substantiated in his 30 years with the department.
"I think when the end of the day comes, my officers behaved in an appropriate manner under existing policy and existing Utah law," he said.
(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)