Houston Police Chief Troy Finner personally warned Travis Scott about the crowd at Astroworld before the concert became tragic.
The last time local rapper Travis Scott had hosted the festival, in 2019, three people had been trampled. So even though extra steps had been taken for this year’s show, including increased security, Finner was still worried.
So much so that, he went to the 30-year-old’s trailer on Friday afternoon to warn him about the hazards of a rowdy gathering, reported NYDaily news.
“I met with Travis Scott and his head of security for a few moments last Friday prior to the main event. I expressed my concerns regarding public safety and that in my 31 years of law enforcement experience I have never seen a time with more challenges facing citizens of all ages, to include a global pandemic and social tension throughout the nation,” Finner, who knows Scott personally, said in a statement on Twitter.
“I asked Travis Scott and his team to work with HPD for all events over the weekend and to be mindful of his team’s social media messaging on any unscheduled events. The meeting was brief and respectful, and a chance for me to share my public safety concerns as Chief of Police.”
The chief’s concerns were primarily about the crowd’s enthusiasm, and event organizers had been bracing themselves for chaos for months, knowing the rap star’s fans might be tough to control.
Dozens of police officers from the Houston Police Department were added to the concert’s security team and additional privacy protection, the concert’s organizer.
Finner told Scott that a large crowd had gathered for the Friday event at NRG Park, where eight people subsequently perished when a mob surged toward the stage, desperate to see a live show after the epidemic shutdowns.
At least one concertgoer has filed a lawsuit against Scott and the event’s organizers, Live Nation and ScoreMore, for the predictable and preventable tragedy.
The lawsuit says that the night was chaotic from the beginning when impatient fans breached a security fence around the park, stampeded into the grounds, and trampled over one another to get inside the sold-out show.
“Defendants failed to properly plan and conduct the concert in a safe manner,” according to papers filed Saturday in Harris County District Court by lawyers for Manuel Souza. As a result, he claims he was hurt in the mayhem.
According to the Times, the music didn’t conclude until over 40 minutes after authorities declared a “major casualty event.”
The star and the concert organizers might have intervened earlier, according to Houston Fire Chief Samuel Pea.
In his Instagram statement, Scott admitted that he had no idea how bad things had gotten in the crowd.
Investigators are still piecing together what happened before and during the show to provoke such a frenzy.
Scott has a history of pushing supporters to disregard security and violently storm the stage, which has resulted in him being arrested and sued twice, reported NY Post.
He was accused of inciting frenzy and instigating moshing at music festivals in Arkansas in 2017 and Chicago in 2015, resulting in the injuries of a guard and concertgoers.