Los Angeles police say they warned organizers about potential for trouble at weekend raveBy John Rogers, AP
Thursday, July 1, 2010
Los Angeles police say they warned of rave danger
LOS ANGELES — A top police official said Thursday that authorities warned staff at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and event promoters about the potential for unruly crowds and drug abuse at a weekend rave where a 15-year-old girl died.
Deputy Chief Pat Gannon said through a spokeswoman that police didn’t attempt to have the 14th annual Electric Daisy Festival canceled. However, he indicated it was common knowledge there could be trouble, given that such events are notorious for illicit drug use.
“When you hire two dozen private ambulances to show up to deal with overdoses, you know there is going to be a significant problem,” Gannon told the Los Angeles Times earlier.
Police made 118 arrests, mostly for drug possession, at the two-day event last weekend, and Gannon said if more officers had been available they easily could have arrested 1,000 people.
Coliseum officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment. A spokeswoman for the event’s promoter, Insomniac Inc., said no one was available to comment Thursday.
Insomniac issued a statement Wednesday saying it was investigating what went wrong. Also that day, Coliseum President Barry Sanders announced he was putting a moratorium on booking any future raves at the historic venue.
The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission, which oversees the publicly owned venue, called a special meeting for July 16 to discuss extending Sanders’ moratorium. The Coliseum is jointly owned by the state, county and city.
An estimated 185,000 people attended this year’s Electric Daisy Festival, which featured carnival rides, light shows and appearances by techno star Moby and Will.I.Am of the Black Eyed Peas.
At some point, 15-year-old Sasha Rodriguez collapsed and was rushed to a hospital, where she was treated for drug intoxication. She died Tuesday. The exact cause of death won’t be known until toxicology tests are completed.
Another person who arrived in critical condition has since been released, hospital spokeswoman Katreena Salgado said Thursday.
There were 226 requests for medical aid during the festival, according to the Fire Department. Of those, 114 people were taken to hospitals. Fire officials said people were treated for intoxication, dizziness, fainting and in some instances being battered or trampled by the huge crowd.
The crowd was so large, Gannon said, that police had to dispatch about 250 officers to the area, pulling many off other duties around the city. That’s about twice the number needed to police a sold-out University of Southern California football game at the Coliseum.
Local residents said the neighborhood always becomes the scene of gridlocked traffic and illicit drug use during a rave, but that this one seemed to attract far more people than usual.
Other raves have generated controversy in California in recent months.
One death and at least 18 drug overdoses tied to Ecstasy were reported at a New Year’s Eve rave earlier this year at the Los Angeles Sports Arena, which is adjacent to the Coliseum and also operated by the Coliseum Commission. That event attracted about 45,000 people.
In the San Francisco Bay area, two men died of suspected drug overdoses at a Memorial Day weekend rave at the Cow Palace in Daly City.
It wasn’t immediately clear what effect the moratorium might have on the Love Festival, which is scheduled to take place Aug. 21 at the Sports Arena. The festival, which bills itself as one of the longest running dance music events in North America, also has stops scheduled in Hawaii and Colorado this summer.
The Coliseum has a long, storied history, playing host to the 1932 and 1984 Olympic Games and serving as the home of USC’s football teams. Professional football’s Raiders and Rams both played there before leaving Los Angeles, and baseball’s Dodgers played there during the 1959 World Series.
Tags: California, College Football, College Sports, Crimes Against Children, Fairs And Festivals, Los Angeles, North America, Recreation And Leisure, Sports, United States