The Oral History of Freaknik

The Oral History of Freaknik

The Police:

Killer Mike: The police presence was out there. You were there getting drunk causing traffic, they were lockin’ your ass up. The city clamped down on it. Directing traffic away so you couldn’t cruise, the city council enacted these no cruising laws and things of that nature. But what really got wild was the girls, it got really wild and difficult. And you’ve got to protect the sisters.

Panama Jackson: I did see police trying to calm down the crowds. The last memory I have, I guess it was like ’97, ’98, it went from being Freaknik, to the Sweet Auburn Festival in a controlled space. It wasn’t nearly as many people as used to come. And the police were trying to guide that process. It was a city of Atlanta thing. We are going to rebrand this as the Sweet Auburn Festival. That was the city being more proactive in trying to control it from the beginning as opposed to, here’s this weekend where all these people act a damn fool, and are going all over the city. Let’s create a space for them so that they don’t haveto go all over the city and mess up traffic and go wreak havoc. It was their attempt, and they killed it.

 

The city was being more proactive in trying to control it. It was their attempt, and they killed it.
—Panama Jackson

 

Derrick Boazman: Where the challenge came during Freaknik is how do you control this unorganized chaos? The police would show up and get it under control, but I got fifteen venues as opposed to one. You could not plan your tactical planning for an event that had this wandering kind of philosophy to it. So, they set up a multi-jurisdictional command center for all of these agencies, run out of the local 911 centers. MARTA police, transportation police, the outlying counties had representatives in this command centers and they were able to monitor what was happening in designated areas. It didn’t matter if you were Atlanta police, East Point police, or neighboring city police—they had a coordinated response if there was a need. Cities had cameras spread throughout to monitor traffic. So, you had all of that coordination coming together.

Bun B: If there hadn’t been any police present things would of gotten way more out of hand then they already were. For the most part Freaknik was a fun and enjoyable environment but you got to understand that the city of Atlanta was not really ready for the traffic and, you know, the drinking and smoking in public places, the nudity. It was a lot.

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Tags: freaknik, atlanta, jermaine-dupri, bun-b
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