On Saturday, Finner told media that the police had confirmed one case of a security official being pricked in the neck while trying to restrain or grab a citizen. He went on to add that security guard went unconscious and was attended to by medical staff who revived him with the medicinal nasal spray Narcan that’s commonly used to treat opioid overdoses. The medical staff also claimed to notice a prick mark on the guard’s neck consistent with that of an injection, leading to suspicion of what’s commonly referred to as “needle spiking” where a victim is unknowingly injected with a drug.
During Wednesday’s press conference, Finner went on to suggest that part of the issues caused Friday at Travis Scott‘s Astroworld festival stemmed from fans storming the festival gates to get to exclusive merchandise and admitting that non-ticketed fans had breached the barriers as early as 9 a.m. or 10 a.m.
“A big challenge was merchandise tents, very sought after merchandise,” said Finner. “That’s what caused some of the kids rushing towards that and breaking barriers.”
He went to add that it was the promoter Live Nation’s role to secure “mosh pits” at the festival and that there were two such pits directly in front of the stage. According to Finner, that once CPR was underway on one or more concertgoers were receiving CPR that HPD informed production personnel “in charge” of the event to shut down the event — but that HPD didn’t “hold the plug” to make that call.
“The ultimate authority to end a show is with production and with the entertainer and that should be through communication with public safety officials,” said Finner.
The police chief also suggested that Scott’s headlining performance did actually end earlier than scheduled when it wrapped around 10:15 p.m., noting the concert was scheduled to last until 11 p.m.
The Astroworld investigation is being led by HPD’s homicide department and when Finner was asked if he felt that was appropriate, given that the HPD had hundreds of officers working the event in official and unofficial capacities, he stated, “Why is it not? We investigate ourselves all the time.”
Finner added that the HPD would hold its officials accountable as necessary, and if the department needs to bring in the FBI that’s also an option. HPD is currently scheduled to talk with FBI on Friday, he said.
The number of security officials at the event was also called into question during the news conference. Finner stated that HPD’s presence at the festival has escalated over the years from 170 in 2018, 240 in 2019 and 530 in 2021. As for private security officials, he said the numbers were less certain.
“I’m not comfortable with the numbers yet with what they’re giving us. The challenge is you have three or four security companies and some of the records are not good,” said Finner.