U2 and Ed Sheeran have canceled concerts planned for St. Louis this weekend over security concerns as the city faces violent protests following the acquittal of a former white police officer in the shooting death of a black man.
Promoter Live Nation and U2 wrote in a statement that the St. Louis Police Department would not be able to provide the “standard protection for our audience as would be expected for an event of this size” for the planned Saturday (Sept. 16) concert. The promoter was also informed that the local crowd security personnel would not be at full capacity.
“In light of this information, we cannot in good conscience risk our fans’ safety by proceeding with tonight’s concert,” the statement read. “As much as we regret having to cancel, we feel it is the only acceptable course of action in the current environment.”
U2’s show was to be held at St. Louis’ 70,000-capacity Dome at America’s Center, while Sheeran was booked for Scottrade Center on Sunday night (Sept. 17). Fans who purchased tickets to the concerts will be issued refunds.
Regarding the Sheeran cancelation, promoter Louis Messina told Billboard, “Better safe than sorry.”
In a statement, Messina Touring Group said: “With the safety of the fans being of upmost concern, and after consulting with local officials, who could not fully commit to providing a sufficient amount of police and other city services support, we felt it was in everyone’s best interest to cancel Sunday night’s show. While we regret to have had to come to this decision, we do look forward to returning to St. Louis as soon as Ed’s schedule will allow in 2018.”
Violent protests broke out Friday (Sept. 15) after Jason Stockley was found not guilty of first-degree murder and armed criminal action, the Associated Press reports. On Dec. 20, 2011, the then-police officer shot 24-year-old Lamar Smith five times after a high-speed chase and crash.
Thirty-two people were reportedly arrested in the protests Friday, and 10 officers had been injured.