Houston Police Chief Troy Finner walked back his previous claims on Wednesday that a security guard was drugged at Travis Scott’s Astroworld festival by getting pricked on the neck with a needle.
Finner stated that the guard was treated with Narcan by medical personnel on Saturday. This drug is used to reverse the effects from a overdose of narcotics. He also said that first responders observed what appeared to be a needle mark on the anonymous guard’s neck.
The guard was working at Scott’s concert in NRG Park, where at least eight people died and hundreds more were injuredBecause of the massive crowd crush, medics were unable to offer help to attendees and they could not escape.
“In terms of the security guard that I discussed on Saturday, if you can remember, members of the medical team, medical tent, said that a male security guard had come in and said that somebody had pricked his neck, and we felt that it could’ve been something injected,” the police chief said at a Wednesday press conference.
“We did locate that security guard ― his story’s not consistent with that. The security guard claims he was hit in the head and then he fell unconscious. He says no one injected drugs in him, so we want to clear that part up.”
Finner said he did not have any proof that narcotics were being administered ― either to security guards or attendees ― when he announced it on Saturday, and that they were just allegations. It’s unclear why he released the initial statement about the security guard without first investigating the startling claim.
“I’ve seen people die. Nothing could have prepared me for what I witnessed last night,” Madeline Eskins, an ICU nurse who attended Scott’s show, told The Daily Beast on Saturday. “I was about to tell my boyfriend to tell my son that I loved him, because I really thought that I was not gonna see him again. And before I could say anything, I fainted.”
Eskins told Radar Online The theory of injuries and crowd surge caused by concert went against all odds. It is unlikely that a stranger randomly poked people with a syringe.
“This is a lie,” she said. “They trying to cover their asses. This shit has never been said by anyone who was actually there. Nobody saw this shit.”
Finner said that Houston police will continue its investigation into the chaos that descended at Scott’s concert, despite about 530 police officers having worked as security for the event. There have been calls for an independent investigation ― including from county commissioners and Judge Lina Hidalgo ― due to Houston and Harris County officials having helped organize the event with Live Nation and Scott.
“I’m really confident in who we are at HPD. I think we can do our own investigation,” the chief said. “We investigate ourselves all the time. But what if HPD turns out to be a false target?
“This ‘independent investigation’ is this new fashion word. Independent investigation to find out what and where we are right now. We’re nowhere right now.”
Finner said that police “don’t hold the plug” on the authority to end the show, pointing that responsibility with the production and the entertainer. When Finner was asked about security at the concert the chief answered that the Houston Police Chief had the authority to do so.
More than just allegations of drug use and needle-pricking safety experts have pointed to crowd management and the role of securityIn both prevention and control for potentially violent incidents such as Friday night. Crowd management is essential security and event organizers to have an understanding of the venue’s designSpecifications of event attendees, operational and design features.
Neither Houston police nor Live Nation has answered HuffPost’s questions about how many members of security were near the stage, how many medics were present, if any security members were specifically trained in crowd management and what the barricade configuration looked like.