The FBI is reportedly assisting the Houston Police Department’s (HPD) investigation into the Astroworld tragedy that killed eight people last week.
The dead were among three hundred who were injured when the crowd at a Travis Scott concert stormed towards the stage at NRG Park, causing widespread chaos.
On Monday, FBI director Christopher Wray confirmed that the bureau is assisting the HPD-led investigation with “technical assistance”, according to a number of reports.
It comes as questions are asked about the organisers of the Astroworld festival, Houston’s police and fire departments, and Travis Scott himself.
The rapper has been accused in the past of encouraging disorder at his concerts, with the promoters for the Astroworld festival reportedly using footage of fans breaking-into a Travis Scott festival ahead of Friday.
Scott, who has said he is “devastated”, has also been arrested for encouraging fans to bypass security at concerts in New York in 2017 and Lollapalooza Chicago in 2015.
On Monday, HPD chief Troy Finner said he had met with Scott ahead of the sold-out concert to raise concerns about crowd control amid Covid and “social tension throughout the nation”.
“I expressed my concerns regarding public safety and that in my 31 years in law enforcement experience I have never seen a time with more challenges facing citizens of all ages,” said Mr Finner.
Houston police and fire departments have said that the investigation will consider if Astroworld festival followed health and safety protocols that had been submitted to Harris County ahead of Friday’s event, and signed off by the HPD.
There have also been calls for a separate probe — independent of Houston police. A number of lawsuits have meanwhile been filed against Scott.
Christopher Slobogin, director of the criminal justice program at Vanderbilt University, told The Associated Press that although it “would be better” for an independent body to investigate what happened at Astroworld, it was likely “the actual crime was probably not committed directly by the fire department or the police department”.
While the police and fire departments were involved in the planning for Astroworld, the security was contracted out to a private company, ParaDocs, who the chief of Houston’s fire department said on Sunday had been “quickly overwhelmed” by the tragedy.
The Independent has approached the city of Houston for comment.
Additional reporting by The Associated Press.
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