Sunday, October 2, 2022

Police say Travis Scott showed incomprehensible tapes of security personnel

HOUSTON (AP) – Organizers of the Astroworld music festival did not provide investigators with clear records of private security personnel working on site when a massive surge in crowds during headliner Travis Scott’s performance resulted in at least eight deaths, the Houston police chief said Wednesday.

Houston Police Chief Troy Finner has also vigorously defended his department’s ability to conduct criminal investigations on its own, dismissed calls for an external investigation and said he had no close relationship with the megastar rapper who, from Houston, founded the sold-out. a festival that attracted 50,000 fans.

READ MORE: Astroworld deaths require independent verification

Finner said he expressed safety concerns to Scott ahead of the Friday night show, but did not elaborate. He said he only spoke to Scott twice.

“I had no reason to believe it would be unsafe,” Finner said. “But I am one of those leaders whom I meet with people whenever I can, including with him. We had a very respectful, few minute conversation about my problems. “

Scott played his set about an hour before the end of the show. Finner said that the decision of when to end the show early is up to the artist and production company.

“When you say that the power and ability to end the show, we will not hold back. But this is always in the plan, it is always discussed how this will happen, ”he said. “We had these discussions with the promoters.”

Speaking to reporters for the second time since the tragedy, Finner at times defended himself and criticized what he called rumors and speculation about what happened. He provided several new details and declined to elaborate on the timing of the investigation, which he said could take weeks or months.

There were about 530 Houston police officers working for the festival, Finner said, more than double the number when the festival was last held in 2019. He said that Live Nation, the event’s promoter, and other organizers did not provide “accurate figures” on the number of private security personnel working inside.

According to Finner, Live Nation’s role was to provide two mosh pits right in front of the stage where Scott performed.

But he has repeatedly warned that the investigation is still at an early stage and said he would not “blame any organization.” He also said that there is no evidence that a guard who was near the crowd unknowingly received an injection during the show, despite reports.

At least two visitors on Wednesday remained in critical condition. Officials did not disclose details about the fans who have been hospitalized since Friday, but the family of the 9-year-old boy, who attended the concert with his father, said the child was in a medical coma following heart injuries. lungs and brain.

“How did it happen? This is a question that remains in our heads,” Mayor of Houston Sylvester Turner said earlier Wednesday. “How did this happen? Where were the mistakes? Where were the failures? Where were the gaps? We are indebted to family members, all visitors and, frankly, to the city as a whole, to the rescuers, all of them, how did this happen? “

Turner read the names of eight people who have died before suspending the city council meeting for a moment of silence. According to authorities, the victims were between the ages of 14 and 27 from Texas, Illinois and Washington.

The festival site and Scott’s performance stage remain to be dismantled as authorities and attorneys representing the injured and their families continued to comb the area. The festival took place in a parking lot that is part of NRG Park, a complex of stadiums, arena and convention center.

Bernon Blount said his son and 9-year-old grandson Ezra attended the festival together but were separated during a surge in the crowd. On Tuesday, he said the baby was in a medical coma at a Houston hospital.

“I’m angry because it destroyed our family and it could have been avoided if the people in power had done the right thing,” Blount said.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday announced the formation of a task force to develop safety guidelines for concerts that, he said, “ensure that the tragedy at Astroworld never happens again.”

Astroworld Music Festival emergency plans did not include protocols for dangerous crowd hops like the one that took place during the rush to meet Scott, the festival’s founder. More than 20 lawsuits have been filed in which organizers are accused of failing to take simple crowd control measures or not making good use of staff. Suits include Scott, Live Nation, and rapper Drake, who has performed with Scott.

Houston police and fire departments said they had reviewed and approved the safety plans. But the head of the Houston fire department responded on Tuesday, saying the firefighters were not present at the festival and did not receive a radio to communicate directly with the organizers.

Experts say that mass deaths occur because people are trapped in space so tightly that they don’t have enough oxygen. This usually does not happen because they are being trampled.

Nation World News Desk
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