Houston Police Chief Troy Finner apparently visited with Travis Scott and his security team moments before the deadly Astroworld concert to warn them about possible public safety issues, saying the “energy of the crowd” was getting out of control.
“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 said in a statement released on Twitter.
The Chief reportedly told Scott and his team to be cognizant of dangers and to cooperate with HPD.
“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,” Finner said.
Finner was aware of the possible dangers after experiencing the unruly crowd at Astroworld 2019. But after a year of pandemic lockdowns, Finner expected it to be worse this time.
Sources told the New York Times that the HPD and concert organizers were preparing months in advance for a chaotic situation.
The HPD contributed dozens of officers to the Live Nation private security team.
Finner’s statements come after at least one lawsuit against Scott and Live Nation. More lawsuits are expected.
“Defendants failed to properly plan and conduct the concert in a safe manner,” lawyers for Manuel Souza, an injured concert goer said.
Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña told the Times that Scott and concert organizers should have stopped the show sooner, which continued on for 40 minutes after police declared a “mass casualty event.”
“The one person who can really call for and get a tactical pause when something goes wrong is that performer. They have that bully pulpit and they have a responsibility,” Peña said.
“If somebody would have said, ‘Hey, shut this thing down and turn on the lights until this thing gets corrected’ — and that coming from the person with the mic — I think could have been very helpful,” he continued.
Eight people were killed during the event after being trampled in a stampede, with 11 people suffering cardiac arrests.