Ultra continues to face heat following security guard incident; may confront brewing legal challenges
On the first night of Miami’s Ultra Music Festival, a 28-year old security guard named Erica Mack was trampled by an unrestrained crowd of festival crashers and later sent to the hospital in critical condition. The tragic incident was largely accredited to the lack of security preparation from the festival organizers as it was revealed that they ignored a request from the Miami police force to bring in additional fencing to the area that Mack later was assigned to patrol. Quickly following the occurrence, Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado stepped forward to proclaim, “I think we should not have Ultra next year here” and a city hearing coming as soon as April 10th may confirm Mayor Regalado’s decision.
Though the festival chose not to close its doors and saw a relatively successful conclusion to the three-day event, backlash from the security guard incident continues to build as a heated case between several organizations and Ultra Music Festival unravels.
In a news conference held in Miami on Monday, Miami Police Chief Manuel Orosa stressed that the police force properly warned the coordinators of Ultra in regards to the weak security spot where Erica Mack was trampled before the incident occurred and suggested that Ultra organizers could face criminal charges.
“Someone [at Ultra] decided to change the plans at the last moment [which is] what led to the incident. There is a twofold investigation. One, a criminal investigation as to the culpable negligence of any individual who had the say-so to do the changing away from the permit and would have been able to think that something like this could have happened.”
City Commissioner Marc Sarnoff supported Police Chief Orosa, explaining to CBS and shedding light on plans to stand against the festival’s return, despite already announced 2015 dates. “The mayor and I will be proposing a resolution in front of the commission that would deny them the ability to have Ultra in the future.”
Orosa also reported that his force has been looking into nearby security video footage to identify some of the gatecrashing individuals, who, if caught, could face a misdemeanor of culpable negligence charges which would result in up to a year in prison.
On Sunday, Ultra released a statement:
The event organizers of Ultra Music Festival share the sentiments of our security partner, CSC, with regard to the condition of Erica Mack, the security guard currently receiving treatment at Jackson Memorial Hospital. The Ultra Family hopes for a swift and full recovery.
The event organizers prohibit any form of unlawful entry in to the event grounds. Preliminary investigations show that the incident was caused by individuals not in possession of event tickets and who were determined to gain unauthorized entry.
Every year the event organizers work collaboratively with police and other municipal partners along with the organizers’ independent security partners to ensure the safety of all patrons, crew and working personnel. Because a thorough investigation is underway, event organizers regret that additional comment cannot be provided at this time. The event coordinators are cooperating fully with investigative authorities.”
Erica Mack remains in the hospital in stable, but critical condition.