One of the latest lawsuits in relation to the Astroworld tragedy has been filed by two men who worked as security guards at the event, with the plaintiffs’ lawyer hitting out at how the festival and its security provider recruited personnel.
Ten people died and hundreds more were injured after a crowd surge occurred during Travis Scott’s headline set at the latest edition of the Astroworld event that he founded, which was staged at Houston’s NRG Park on 5 Nov. A criminal investigation is currently underway in relation to the tragedy, while hundreds of those who attended the event have now filed lawsuits against Scott, the festival’s promoters Live Nation and Scoremore, and others.
In the wake of the tragedy there were various media reports criticising the security arrangements at the festival, with claims that the company leading on security at the event failed to vet, train or even properly brief the people they hired.
Some have speculated that that may in part be due to wider issues the live industry is facing in recruiting security personnel following the COVID-caused shutdowns, with many of those who previously worked in event security having moved into new jobs during lockdown.
The two men behind the latest Astroworld lawsuit have made similar allegations regarding security at the festival. And with that in mind, Samuel and Jackson Bush are suing the security firm that hired them to work at the event – AJ Melino & Associates – as well as the other people and companies involved in the festival.
Their lawsuit alleges that, after hiring them to work at Astroworld, AJ Melino & Associates failed to provide a safe workplace or even basic training. The two men – an uncle and nephew – have also spoken about how they and other security personnel were quickly overwhelmed as the crowd surge got out of control once Scott was on stage.
Samuel says that he broke his right hand and injured his back as he attempted to help deal with the crowd surge, while Jackson says he has suffered shoulder and back pain since the festival, as well as emotional trauma after witnessing medical staff dealing with so many unconscious festival-goers, and at one point allegedly having to pull a deceased audience member out of the crowd.
The Bushes spoke about their experiences during a press briefing outside NRG Park yesterday. According to KPRC-TV, when asked what kind of training they received ahead of the festival, they said “there was no training”. Pretty much the only formality, they claim, was that they had to sign their name on entry. After that, they add, they were just “thrown out there”.
Commenting on his clients’ Astroworld experience and lawsuit during the same press briefing, attorney Larry Taylor said: “You would think it would take more than just signing your name. At least an ID, at least the day before, coming through, walking through, seeing what you needed to do so everyone knew their assignment, everyone knew each other”.
“None of those things were done”, he went on. “It was as simple as you and I meeting up now, and walking on the other side of this gate, and we’re supposed to secure the park. Secure what? Secure where? Secure who? None of these things were provided to these gentlemen and it seems [the security firm] just wanted bodies, more so than to actually secure”.
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