Rap Group Blamed for Riot at Delayed NY Concert

(CN) – A concertgoer who claims he was attacked during a 2015 performance by rap trio Migos filed a lawsuit Monday accusing the rappers of inciting a violent riot by agitating fans with their late arrival and encouraging fights.

Sharome Ross sued Migos and its members Quavious Marshall aka Quavo, Kirshnik Ball aka Takeoff and Kiari Cephus aka Offset. Also named as a defendant is Albany Basketball & Sports Corporation, which is the parent company of the concert venue, the 3,500-capacity Washington Avenue Armory in Albany, N.Y.

“Migos, Quavo, Takeoff and Offset knew or should have known that their behavior and demeanor – attracting and inciting a belligerent fan base, being tardy and undependable, and creating an unruly atmosphere at its concerts – was likely to cause persons at the March 5, 2015 concert to become unruly, belligerent and to present a danger to other concert goers,” according to the eight-page complaint filed in New York Supreme Court.

Ross, represented by Donald Kiley Jr. of Great Neck, N.Y., claims he was “attacked and assaulted” by fellow unprovoked concertgoers who felt “comfortable to engage in mischief and physical violence” at the encouragement of the rappers. He allegedly sustained injuries to his face, head, left shoulder and eyes.

According to the lawsuit, the group failed to appear for a meet-and-greet and showed up three to four hours after the originally scheduled concert time, which caused fans to become “increasingly agitated, impatient and rowdy.”

Upon arrival, Ross claims the rappers “appeared intoxicated, wreaking of marijuana and, reportedly, under the influence of other controlled substances.”

Known for hits “Bad and Boujee” and “Versace,” the Grammy-nominated Atlanta-based rap group’s name allegedly stems from a Georgia drug-trade reference in which the term “Migos” refers to an abandoned house used for drug manufacturing and consumption, which Ross says the concert venue was aware of.

Albany Basketball & Sports Corporation, or ABSC, also allegedly knew Migos had a bad reputation. Ross says it should have canceled the concert when it became clear that the atmosphere was toxic and violence was likely.

Ross blames ABSC for failing to maintain a safe premises and accuses its staff of insufficient crowd control, serving alcoholic drinks to intoxicated people and promoting a dangerous rapport between the attendees and performers.

As a result of the attack, Ross says he was “degraded and humiliated,” suffered physical pain and mental anguish, sought medical attention and was prevented from performing his job. He seeks damages for claims of negligence.

Ross’ attorney, Kiley, said via email that he believes “it was incumbent upon the facility to provide extra security in light of the artists’ behavior.”

“They should also have considered shutting down the service of alcoholic beverages as the crowd developed a rowdy tone,” Kiley said.

He added, “As for Migos and its touring group, I suggest that they owed a duty to arrive and perform on time and comply with the terms of their contract.  They also owed a duty to the patrons to maintain a professional manner. Both the facility and the performers owed a duty to control the crowd and to maintain order.”

ABSC also filed an 11-page lawsuit the same day and in the same court against Migos and five John Doe agents, alleging their actions “caused patrons to be stabbed, robbed, beaten, severely harmed, and injured as [they] continued to incite a select group of individuals to continue the onslaught of attacks, assaults and destruction of the premises.”

The venue company is represented in its case by William Little of Teresi & Little in Albany, N.Y.

ABSC says it contemplated canceling the concert throughout the night in fear that the group would not show up and that the crowd became “increasingly agitated” awaiting their arrival.

When they arrived, the rap trio was intoxicated and “encouraged fans to fight, ‘give them hell’ and kick ass,” according to ABSC’s lawsuit.

Migos members and their agents “were seen exiting the stage and attacking members of the crowd,” the complaint states.

As a result, ABSC claims it lost its liquor license, was forced to cancel other shows and events, and suffered loss of revenue and income. It seeks punitive damages and wants a judge to declare the rap group is liable for its losses and that their use of speech that encouraged violence during the performance is not protected by the First Amendment.

Attorneys for ABSC and Migos did not immediately respond Tuesday to email requests for comment.

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