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Houston Police Department seeks more Astroworld footage via new website

By | Published on Monday 17 January 2022

Travis Scott

The Houston Police Department announced a new website on Friday via which attendees to last year’s Astroworld festival can submit photos and videos that may help with the investigation into the fatal crowd surge that occurred at the event.

Ten people died and hundreds more were injured during the crowd surge, which took place as Travis Scott performed his headline set, on the evening of 5 Nov, at the 2021 edition of the festival he founded. The city’s police force have been investigating the incident ever since.

In a statement on Twitter on Friday, the police department announced it had teamed up with the FBI to set up a website via which new evidence could be submitted.

It said: “Houston Police Department have already viewed countless hours of video evidence as part of our ongoing investigation into the Astroworld event”.

“To ensure that we have captured all possible evidence for a complete investigation”, it went on, “we have partnered with the Federal Bureau Of Investigation for additional technical assistance. The FBI has created a website where the public can upload any photos or video taken at the concert venue”.

“Specifically, we are seeking any photos or videos of the main venue area from 8pm to 11pm. The website to upload your photos or video is“.

In the days following the Astroworld tragedy, some questioned whether Houston PD was best positioned to run the criminal investigation into the incident, given it was also policing the festival. However, the American city’s police chief, Troy Finner, has insisted no independent investigation is required.

And on Friday the police department stressed that while the FBI had set up this new website for submitting evidence, it was still in charge of the criminal investigation. “HPD continues to lead this investigation”, the tweeted statement continued, “and we appreciated the assistance from our federal partners at the FBI”.

Some of the lawyers working on civil litigation in relation to the Astroworld crowd surge have criticised the Houston PD for taking so long to set up a website for submitting footage from the event, although – they add – law firms working on the Astroworld lawsuits have probably already gathered much of the evidence that the police investigation requires.

Dr Darrin Porcher – a former New York police lieutenant and now academic who is advising one of those law firms – told Rolling Stone that Houston PD should have more quickly utilised the resources of the local FBI field office.

“For the life of me, I can’t understand why this wasn’t done immediately”, he told the music magazine, “because they clearly understood the police department only has so many people. You’re conducting an investigation with 50,000 people at one location. It’s clear, and it’s apparent, that the Houston Police Department didn’t have the ability to get this done, and there’s nothing wrong with that. They didn’t drive it as quickly as they should have”.

Meanwhile Alex Hilliard, one of the key lawyers at the law firm Porcher is advising, added: “The plaintiff lawyers have been diligently obtaining all of this information, so to the extent that prosecutors need it and are asking for it, it’s already within organised, available portals that exist in a lot of the firms. In the next couple of weeks, there will be a lot of information provided to prosecutors to establish that there was absolute criminal activity which occurred in this case”.

Scott and the festival’s promoters – Live Nation and its Scoremore subsidiary – are facing hundreds of lawsuits in relation to the Astroworld tragedy that between them are seeking billions of dollars in damages.