Ahead of Travis Scott‘s Astroworld performance on Friday night, Houston Police Chief Troy Finner met with the rapper to express his concerns over the safety of the event.
“I met with Travis Scott and his head of security for a few moments last Friday prior to the main event,” Chief Finner said in a statement released on Monday. “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 and social tension throughout the nation.”
“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,” Chief Finner added. “The meeting was brief and respectful, and a chance for me to share my public safety concerns as Chief of Police.”
Chief Finner’s statement came on the heels of a report in the New York Times revealing the city’s concerns about Astroworld. That consternation was due to incidents at past editions of the festival involving unruly crowd behavior — which was often spurred on by Scott himself.
In addition to the previously undisclosed meeting between between Chief Finner and Scott, the Times uncovered two lengthy emergency planning documents, “one addressing the overall response to emergencies like extreme weather, an active shooter or a riot, and another dealing with the medical response.
“Based on the site’s layout and numerous past experiences,” one of the plans read, “the potential for multiple alcohol/drug related incidents, possible evacuation needs, and the ever-present threat of a mass casualty situation are identified as key concerns.”
Investigators are still trying to determine what caused the chaotic scene within the crowd of Astroworld that left eight people dead and hundreds injured. Survivors have recounted experiencing a massive crowd surge, which led many people to be trampled. There are also reports of concert-goers being administered naloxone, a drug that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose.
In a video statement released Saturday, Scott said he was not aware of the severity of the situation until after he finished performing.
Earlier today, Scott announced he would cover the funeral costs for the eight Astroworld victims, and also offered free counseling for those impacted by the tragedy. The gesture came amid an onslaught of lawsuits filed by survivors.
— Houston Police (@houstonpolice) November 8, 2021