By BRUCE WEBER
Fighting and bottle-throwing broke out late yesterday afternoon toward the end of a weekend-long sports and music festival along the beach in Belmar, N.J., and the police in riot gear were called in to quell the disturbance.
Some vehicles were overturned and windows were broken in oceanfront houses when the crowd was forced off the beach by the police. One man said he was knocked off his motorcycle, which was then stolen, and the town’s Mayor, Kenneth Pringle, said he was struck on the head with a bottle as he directed traffic.
About 30 people were treated for minor injuries at Jersey Shore Medical Center in Neptune, a hospital spokeswoman said. The police said 28 people were arrested on charges of failure to disperse or disorderly conduct. All of those arrested were released on their own recognizance, the police said.
The disturbance, which came after the police interrupted a performance by the rap group Kriss Kross, took place on the second day of the MTV Sports Festival, a series of concerts and recreational sports competitions sponsored by MTV, the music television network.
At a news conference last night, Mayor Pringle said that 75,000 had attended the festival yesterday, about twice the number that attended on Saturday. By mid-afternoon several skirmishes on the beach among those at the festival led the Belmar police to try to bring the event to a close.
By 5 P.M., Mr. Pringle said, some people in the crowd, responding to orders by the police to leave the beach and boardwalk, spilled onto nearby side streets and were throwing bottles and kicking cars. It became clear the police would not be able to restore order, he said, so they called for assistance from surrounding towns.
Many concertgoers were black, and some said that when the police ordered them from the beach, white residents yelled racial slurs. Asked if he would characterize the incident as a racial disturbance, Mayor Pringle said, “Not completely, but that was the undercurrent.”
Map of New Jersey, indicating Belmar.