Candlestick institutes new rules
SAN FRANCISCO (AP)
Football fans held spirited tailgating parties on what so far was a tame Saturday at Candlestick Park, where the 49ers are hosting Houston a week after things turned violent during a San Francisco exhibition game with the rival Oakland Raiders.
Fans were being watched much more carefully this week, with police officers on foot patrolling throughout the parking lots outside Candlestick and also inside the stadium. Others monitored the scene on motorcycles.
Security personnel working the event were asking tailgaters to leave the parking lots after kickoff under new security measures introduced by the team in the wake of what happened.
Two men were shot in a parking lot after the Niners' 17-3 win over Oakland last Saturday. Another man was beaten unconscious earlier in a bathroom, and a brawl involving several fans during the game was captured on video and replayed on the Internet.
Kenny Keltz, a longtime Bay Area vendor who also works Raiders and Athletics games at the Oakland Coliseum, some San Francisco Giants and Golden State Warriors contests as well as California college events, wasn't concerned as he sold programs inside one main entrance a couple of hours before kickoffs.
''Last week was an aberration,'' said Keltz, known for singing while he sells. ''It wasn't the norm.''
Still, the events prompted the team to announce new security measures, including a ban on tailgating once the game starts. The NFL also denounced the violence and pledged support of both Bay Area teams, law enforcement and the cities of San Francisco and Oakland while saying it would stay up to date on any developments.
49ers spokesman Steve Weakland said team security and San Francisco police would patrol the parking lots to enforce the ban, asking fans with tickets to enter the stadium. Others were being asked to either buy a ticket or leave.
The team has also said it planned to use postgame DUI checkpoints and have additional police on hand. Weakland would not say how many additional police officers and security officials would be present.
Police planned an increase staffing by 10 percent, with additional plainclothes and uniformed officers, Sgt. Michael Andraychak said.
''We're not expecting anything as bad as last week, but because of what happened we want to reassure folks that we'll have plenty of officers on hand,'' he said.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello interacted with fans via Twitter on Saturday regarding fan behavior and how it's handled.
''Take responsibility for your own conduct,'' he tweeted.
At last week's game, more than 70 fans were ejected from the stadium, 12 people were arrested and dozens of medical calls were made. Officials said the numbers were significantly higher than those for a typical home game at Candlestick Park.
Police have not made any arrests in the shootings and beating at last week's game. All three victims were listed in fair condition earlier this week.
Kim Frederick wasn't deterred from returning to Candlestick for the second straight week with her 6-year-old granddaughter, Keyanna, who rode her scooter through the parking lot as they collected cans and bottles for recycling - and enjoyed some people watching. They live in the projects in nearby South San Francisco and left last Saturday before things turned violent.
''We were a little bit hesitant,'' Frederick said. ''My husband was more so than I was. He said, `Kim, be careful.' But the parking lots are half as full as they were last week. I don't think it's as big an issue as last weekend when you had two rival teams from the Bay Area. There are a lot of cops here.''