San Francisco 49ers officials said today that the team will tighten security at Candlestick Park in response to the violence at Saturday evening’s preseason game against the Oakland Raiders.
The heightened security measures come after two men were shot near Candlestick Park and another was found beaten in a stadium restroom during and after Saturday’s game.
The beating victim and one of the shooting victims suffered what were initially believed to be life-threatening injuries, but a San Francisco General Hospital spokeswoman said today that both are now in fair condition.
Team leaders are recommending that the National Football League suspend the annual preseason game against the Raiders.
“It’s our belief that we should recommend to the NFL that this game is at least postponed for some period of time,” 49ers president Jed York said at a news conference at the stadium this afternoon.
“We’re going to continue to work with the NFL, continue to work with the Raiders to make sure that we have the right decision,” he said.
NFL teams typically play four preseason games each year. Each team chooses one opponent and the NFL assigns the other three.
The 49ers have continually chosen the San Diego Chargers and are recommending that the NFL not schedule the Raiders.
“The degenerate behavior that happened on Saturday is not going to be tolerated,” York said. “We are not going to allow that type of behavior at our football games.”
Team officials said that they will crack down on tailgating as well in an effort to curb unruly behavior.
Tailgating will be permitted before games but not during or after the game, Vice President of Stadium Operations and Security Jim Mercurio said.
Anyone still in the parking lot once a game has started will be asked to either enter the stadium or leave the parking lot.
Several other fights in the stands and in the parking lot were caught on amateur video and police Chief Greg Suhr said that this was not typical behavior.
“Last Saturday night was an aberration,” he said.
Saturday’s attendance was a third less than a typical season game and Suhr said that there were 40 percent more officers at Saturday’s game than would be seen at a regular season game.
Despite that, he said, the amount of calls for unruly conduct rose dramatically.
“It appeared very early on that the people weren’t here to see the game,” Suhr said. “They were more inclined to engage with other people in the crowd.”
Police booked 12 people Saturday, while the average is one or two per game.
There are normally seven to 10 calls made for an ambulance but Saturday saw 50 such calls and the number of public intoxications more than doubled, Suhr said.
“In my 19 years of doing this, never have I had to deal with the amount of calls for service, the amount of fights, the amount of behavior that is absolutely not accepted,” Mercurio said.
Ticket holders who show a pattern of unacceptable behavior could have their tickets revoked, Mercurio said.
Season ticket holders were encouraged to be careful if they sell their tickets.
“They need to pay attention to how their tickets are being exchanged,” Lee said.
Mercurio said police will be more visible and an alcohol management team will be roaming the parking lot as an added precaution.
Police will also be implementing a DUI checkpoint after 49er home games, Suhr said.
There will be no scheduling changes to the 49ers’ upcoming Saturday game against the Houston Texans.
Zack Farmer, Bay City News