Tyler, the Creator's Attorney Claims SXSW Gig Was No Riot

Lawyer argues unhinged Austin show was 'full of positive energy'

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Philip Sherburne WRITTEN BY
Philip Sherburne

It all depends upon your definition of "riot."

Following Tyler, the Creator's arrest on Saturday for "encouraging behavior causing an immediate danger and injury to persons" at his overcrowded, overamped SXSW performance last Thursday, the Odd Future rapper's attorney released a statement this morning arguing that Tyler's actions do not constitute incitement.

As reported by Associated Press, the statement released by attorney Perry Q. Minton argues, "At no time during the ... concert did Tyler seek to incite or participate in riotous activity as has been reported in the press." Minton goes on to claim that the term "riot" is inapplicable to the actions of the crowd.

"It is clear from video clips and witness reports, that the patrons and fans attending the show on that date were full of positive energy appropriate for this type of event and never exhibited any anger or aggression whatsoever."

Some attendees at the event might disagree with Minton's characterization of the mood in the room. SPIN's Garrett Kamps was at the concert, which took place at the Scoot Inn, and was one of the people in the way of the onrushing crowd when Tyler encouraged fans outside the gates of the venue to push their way in. After Tyler led the crowd in a chant of "Push, push, push," the guards were quickly overwhelmed.

"It felt like being hit with a wave," Kamps wrote. What followed was a tense exchange between the venue's sound engineer and a suddenly mic-less Tyler, and then a chant of "Let him play," before the sound finally came on and Tyler made his way through an incident-free set.

In audience video of the event, Tyler is heard saying "Bring [the gate] down, let's fuckin' do it!" and the crowd soon streams in.  

On Saturday, cops arrested Tyler at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport as he was preparing to leave the city and charged him with riot, a misdemeanor. Bail was set at $3,500. AP reports that he posted a $25,000 bond. If convicted, he could face up to a year in prison and a $4,000 fine.

Tyler does not apologize in the statement, but Minton writes that the MC "fully appreciates" the need for safety at public events and had no intent to "disrupt that mission."

"Tyler is not a violent individual and would never deliberately engage in any activity that would put another person at risk of being hurt," he wrote.

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