UPDATED: Dispatch From Massive Response to Altercation at Congress Theater

By at April 14, 2012 | 10:03 am | Print

An altercation that began inside of the Congress Theater, 2135 N. Milwaukee Ave., during an opener act at last night’s Meek Mill rap show and ended in front of the venue brought over 20 police officers, one alderman, a district police commander and the fire department to the scene. No arrests were made.

The Pipeline arrived shortly after the incident had occurred, around 10:45PM.

Joining the numerous officers and an estimated 100 patrons who were hoping to either get back into the venue or get a refund was First Ward Alderman Proco Joe Moreno, accompanied by two community security workers that Moreno had hired out of his own pocket, due to concerns about the background of one of the evening’s artists, Chief Keef, who wears an electronic monitoring bracelet and had been granted permission by a judge to perform.  This news of the additional workers had been shared earlier that night by Ronda Locke, 1st Ward Director of Community Outreach, who’d posted a message to the 1st Ward Community on the GGNA message board.

14th District Police Commander Linda Flores reported to the The Pipeline that the fight had involved “an altercation with an officer outside of the venue.” When asked how many officers or how many people were involved in the fight, Flores could not elaborate. When asked about the large number of men in blue, she replied that they were expecting a big crowd and officers had already been in the vicinity due to another fight up the street.

Disgruntled patrons standing outside waiting to get into the venue were left in the dark concerning why they were prohibited from entering. Misinformation abounded including speculation that the show had been canceled, causing many waiting in line to simply go home.

The Pipeline witnessed Flores assuring confused fans that “everything is clear, it’s back open” and that they could go back inside.  Flores then explained to the pipeline that the Chicago Fire Dept were examining occupancy and clear exit paths during the ongoing show.

According to Joe Vongkaysone of EvenFlow Promotion Group which rented the venue for three promoters representing artists Twista, Meek Mill, King Louie and Chief Keef, “Lots of people left, there are tweets that say the show was canceled due to a shooting.”  It was Vongkaysone’s first show at Congress in a 10 year promotion career, and, as a friend of rapper Twista he said he had wanted to do a show. He had been extra cautious and hired 25 of his own security to augment the 25 Congress provided in Vongkayson’s rental agreement. There were 1,500 attendees.

Vongkaysone was present when the fight occurred. “I lost a lot of money. I’m going to have a lot of issues, but I’m not going to pick sides,” he said.

Across the way from Vongkaysone, promoter John Doe was observed talking at length with the alderman. When The Pipeline approached the alderman and John Doe, they refused to field questions. At the end of the night Doe was still refusing to talk with the pipeline. “Beat it,” he said.

Later that night we spoke with Congress security worker and auxiliary policeman Jonathan Errum, who said that he had dragged the patron out of the club after he had grabbed a cash register and was trying to hit someone with it. According to Errum, two undercover cops joined him on the sidewalk but no charges were filed and “Police let him go.”

UPDATE 12:45PM 3/14/2012: In response to rumors circulating of woman in a car with a gun near the venue, Officer Mirabelli in CPD News Affairs confirmed no reports of any woman with a gun pulled over in a car near the venue or any arrest made of the woman as a witness said there had been.

“I can’t confirm or deny that, there is nothing in the database about this,” Officer Maribelli said.

UPDATE: Video footage here. Also, one of the security workers hired by the alderman at his own expense, can be viewed knocking on doors for the alderman in this Campaign Video from 2011.

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  1. […] Problems just keep following the Congress Theater. On Friday night, a concert featuring 16-year-old Southside rapper Chief Keef (who is currently under house arrest and sporting an ankle-monitoring device) was interrupted by a […]

  2. […] to perform. The concert was controversial: neighborhood Alderman Proco Joe Moreno apparently hired private security workers to police the venue in addition to the theater’s existing security […]

  3. […] Originally Posted by Attrill More than 2 dozen cops showed up to respond to a fight between two guys and arrested…ummm, no one. The whole thing came out of a combination of issues. The CPD is pissed off (I believe rightly so) at a performer who is under house arrest while awaiting trial on charges of pointing a gun at an officer. The Alderman is in the middle of a fight with the owner of the Congress over his belief that the venue is being mismanaged, and some residents are annoyed at the crowds attending some of the shows at the Congress (the 17+ shows attract some real idiots). The NYE rape raised the profile of some of the issues at the Congress, but all in all it isn't much different than any other venues of the same size (aside from the awful bathrooms). I walked over to the Congress to check it out after I heard the commotion and police arrived (Attrill, I'm guessing by your screen name I live very close to you) and saw Proco Joe across Milwaukee Ave. throwing an expletive-laden fit with someone. Something to the effect: "I told them not to book this sh*t! Making songs about shooting people in the f*cking face!" <from chicago-pipeline.com> I stuck around for just 2 minutes as I had plans of my own. Should of pulled up a chair and a bag of popcorn. Apparently someone threw a cash register at someone else in the lobby, and havoc ensued. UPDATED: Dispatch From Massive Response to Altercation at Congress Theater […]

  4. […] show stop at 9:30, Waka’s road manager G-Boy told me, as they have done to hip-hop concerts at Congress and other Chicago venues as of late.The theater’s neon-clad security spent most of their time […]


  1. Resident of the 1st, 3 years ago Reply

    I have been a resident of first word for many years when my last alderman was Mr. Flores things were awesome. The garbage was always picked up, streets were plowed, there was not that much graffiti and if there was graffiti it was taken down the next day and my grandparents walk around and night without fear being mugged.
    This is a very different story when it comes to our current aldermen who hasn’t done very much the past few years if this should be evidence of a person who did not take his job very seriously because he had political clout with UNO and MLI and is now trying to look proactive on crime.
    The point is this is what happens when you don’t do your job in the first place then you become reactive in order to look like you’re being proactive on crime. If you really cared about the 1 wards safety to attach the graffiti artist named MADD, would not have closed down the 13th district and been going to bars chasing the woman vote. (it’s implied)
    so please Mr. Ald if you want to look reactive and hard on crime how about you stop bothering local business owner and start working on the gang members in your ward and improving the schools that are in your ward .

  2. Not happy, 3 years ago Reply

    This is just another example of Chicago politicians using propaganda in order to show their constituents as if they are really solving a problem. This is your typical scare tactic that MLI teaches them during their Book-of-the-Month club.

    Find a common enemy, in this case Congress Theater, and overreacts by bringing the same police officers that he did not support by closing down there precinct building and forcing them to move around while he poses for photos.

    Not only is our aldermen sad but is the first time they is actually now feeling a fire under his but because he did not win by many votes in the First Ward and he needs to look proactive.

    My advice Mr. Ald. is if you want to do your job maybe you should read and understand your job description. Your job is to make sure city ordinance will fit and be supported by your constituents. Not overstep your balance and try to harass all businesses in order to make yourself look good.

    The real issue is people no matter where you go there will always be a couple of people who act like idiots. If we go down the vision and Western to division and Ashland you’ll notice this very same scene happening after 2 AM. People get drunk people get rowdy and they get into fights. What this alderman should not do is plan a strategic plan in order to make it thriving business look bad for the community when he was running for reelection he’s the same place as a campaign fundraiser.

    Sun closing shame on you Mr. Ald. for using propaganda and misusing our Chicago Police Department in order to make yourself look proactive on crime when if you look at the statistics since you’ve been in office crime has gone up..

  3. ChasB, 3 years ago Reply

    I witnessed much of the deal last night.. I heard the alderman calling people bitches and acting like a gang banger.. What a dirtbag.. Glad he’s not running my up n coming neighborhood..

  4. Metal Man, 3 years ago Reply

    The alderman calling people bitches…tisk tisk. Sounds like he’s wanted to be a gangbanger last night. A couple of weeks ago he was a club going hipster. Which is it with this guy?

    • SouthLoopCharlie, 3 years ago Reply

      I’m assuming that our Honorable Rahm Emmanuel would be ashamed if he saw that sort of drunken buffoonery within our city limits.. I saw that Alderman in a drunken stumble at one point… Drunk public officials are the last thing that this prop tax paying individual wants to see… please clean up your filthy stinking act, Mr. Alderman..

  5. Metal Man, 3 years ago Reply

    I heard that there is video of the alderman out front of the theater calling people bitches and talking like a gangster. HILARIOUS!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m sure he was only drunk on power.

  6. Barbara, 3 years ago Reply

    Pictures don’t lie. That’s an awful lot of police officers for a response to an unruly concert goer. There were no arrests because Congress is doing NOTHING wrong, nothing illegal. It’s not the ice capades, it’s urban music. It’s not a RIOT Mr. Alderman, its rap. Perhaps you brush up on your public safety nomenclature –or take one of those diversity awareness courses that teaches you about black culture. It’s obvious you’re trying to invent drama where there is none. Perhaps because there is a need to build a better case for your overzealous DT hearing and all those emergency responders (firemen, policemen, ambulences, yada)make for
    such theatrics and photos. Bravo, but poorly played me thinks. What a waste of our taxes!

  7. Jim H., 3 years ago Reply

    Alderman Moreno, what do you say to this?

    On Saturday April 29th your friends at V-Live will be hosting Vinny Guadagnino from Jersey shore, who has gotten a lot of criticism about a rap song he made about “Raping a Girl” http://perezhilton.com/2011-11-30-vinny-guadagnino-jersey-shore-rape-rap-song

    The nation’s largest Anti-Sexual Assult Organization says this:
    “The lyrics in Vinny Guadagnino’s new rap song that glorify rape are ignorant. Trivializing this violent crime sends a dangerous message to the public.”
    Since rape is such a touchy subject in this neighborhood I hope you write a public letter expressing your disapproval, warn the community, and again pay for added security at this event. You insinuated if an artist sings about a subject, they must actually do it. If you are fair un-biased community leader you will write a letter expressing your disapproval, or do you only write negatively when it has to do with Congress events?

  8. chicago rappers, 3 years ago Reply

    Very interesting post and informative..

  9. Megan, 3 years ago Reply

    Rolling my eyes… “thats that shit I dont like” in my Chief Keef voice… And yes, Im a white college educated female………….

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