Fireworks cause panic on Beale Street

Fireworks cause panic on Beale Street

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Early Sunday morning, fireworks caused crowds to rush Beale Street the same night 'Beale Street Bucks' was in full swing.

Police said fireworks near B.B. King Boulevard and Beale Street caused a surge of people to run on the street around 1:45 a.m.

Hours before the fireworks caused a panic, crowds gathered in long lines at security points showing IDs and paying $10 as part of the Beale Street Bucks program.

Ken Taylor, the executive director of the Beale Street Merchants Association, credits Beale Street Bucks for helping keep this situation manageable. He said without the program, more people would've been on Beale Street, and that would've turned this scary situation into a dangerous one.

"People were throwing themselves against me. They were trying to get out of the way. Some people were ducking," Porscha White said.

"Right after that we were able to see there were no injuries and definitely no damage to any of our venues," Taylor said.

This was a high contrast from an incident this time last year when crowds caused a stampede on Beale Street. Police said hundreds ran mistaking a loud noise for gunfire.

City council member Berlin Boyd, who was on Beale Street when the fireworks went off, said he does believe Beale Street Bucks is a deterrent but Memphis can do better.

"There's a way we must meet in the middle to find that compromise," Boyd said.

Beale Street Bucks is up for a City Council vote May 23rd.

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