Dozens of protesters confronted fans of rocker Ted Nugent outside Toad's Place in New Haven, Conn., on Tuesday.
The demonstrators wanted Toad's to cancel Nugent's 7:30 p.m. show at the legendary nightclub.
"We're already trying to heal from what happened with Trayvon Martin," one woman said. "He has a First Amendment right to say what he feels. We have a First Amendment right to protest."
More than 2,700 community members signed a Change.org petition asking Toad’s Place to pull the plug on Nugent's show in the wake of several controversial remarks he has allegedly made about Trayvon Martin, calling him a "dope smoking gangsta wannabe" who "got justice"
The petition reads:
“We, the undersigned, ask that out of respect of the New Haven community, which is experiencing a great deal of grief as a result of the Trayvon Martin verdict, you cancel the Ted Nugent show scheduled for August 6th… We understand that you may consider this a First Amendment issue, and while Mr. Nugent has a right to his speech that right does not require that he do so here.”
The owners of Toad’s Place decided the show must go on, but that did not stop opponents from voicing their opinions.
Police from both the city of New Haven and Yale University had an increased police presence and authorities did restrain some protesters early in the evening from confrontations with Nugent fans.
Organizers set up a Facebook page urging people to show up outside the venue on York Street to protest the concert.
According to the Facebook page:
“Some New Haven area residents, including the local NAACP chapter, have come together and politely asked the owners of Toad's Place to cancel the show in solidarity for some in the community who are in mourning over this travesty of justice. The owners have refused to cancel the show, wrongly citing Nugent's First Amendment right to free speech. Legally, they, as private business owners, can choose to utilize their personal discretion as to whose speech to permit on their premises. Therefore they are choosing to promote Nugent's hate.”
Nugent is known for being vocal about his political views. His website labels Nugent “the nation’s most outspoken proponent of our first and second Amendment rights.”
He tweeted about Tuesday's concert and the planned protest at Toad's Place.
see all you ultra music lovers for the ultimate blackpower soulmusic ROCKOUT in New Haven CT tonite. subhuman punks will provide ultracomedy
— Ted Nugent (@TedNugent) August 6, 2013
After the show, Nugent spoke exclusively with NBC Connecticut.
“I feel sorry for them. They’re living a lie. If you really study the evidence and specific case they’re protesting, you have to be either brain dead or on acid not to get the same conclusion,” Nugent said.
Nugent said he never made a comment.
“I merely parroted the FBI report. I merely parroted the investigative team of prosecutorial investigators. … So I speak the truth and idiots go nuts. That’s just a bonus for my life.”
According to his site, the rocker has sold more than 40 million albums and performed more than 6,400 concerts.
He is also an avid hunter and has been inducted to the National Bowhunters Hall of Fame.