Miami Commissioner Calls Ultra Profits ‘Blood Money’ After Videos of Surface
MIAMI (CBSMiami) – There are renewed calls for an end to the Ultra Music Fest. A Miami commissioner wants Miami residents to see video of what he believes are drug-fueled acts at Ultra.
One video shows a handful of young men fighting. A crowd stands around them and there are no police or security in sight. A second video shows a crowd of men and women jumping a fence. A third shows a woman urinating on what appears to be an unconscious man. The videos made their way from social media to the office of Miami Commissioner Marc Sarnoff.
“I didn’t create any of these (videos,)” said Sarnoff. “I’m just putting them together so we can take a good, hard look, as we said we would do, (at) Ultra 2014.”
More than just a moral issue, Sarnoff believes the videos justify concerns some people have about security at the electronic music festival, after several gate-crashers rushed and toppled fences to sneak in two years in a row.
Another video shows a police officer struggling to restrain a man. The officer calls for back up, but no one comes for several minutes.
The spokesman for Ultra, Rodney Barreto, says anyone who has a problem with Ultra’s security plan should talk to Miami Police. The police department approved the plan ahead of time. At the recommendation of police, Ultra organizers increased the number of officers it pays to secure the venue.
In 2012, 140 officers patrolled the festival. That increased to 208 in 2013, and jumped to 257 in 2014.
“The money that Ultra is spending is nothing more than bloody money,” said Sarnoff.
The commissioner was alluding to the death of Adonis Pena Escoto. The 21-year-old is under investigation. His family believes someone slipped something into this drink at Ultra before he died at the hospital.
“We’ve worked hand in hand with the police department and every request they’ve made, we’ve fulfilled,” said Rodney Barreto.
Ultra organizers didn’t fulfill one request by police. During the pre-event walk-through, police noted the entire perimeter of the event was fortified by heavy duty fencing called “G-8 fencing.” The one area that didn’t have G-8 fencing was near the concession area. It only had chain-link fencing that could easily be knocked over. Police told Ultra organizers to replace the chain-linked fence with G-8 fencing. Police says Ultra said it would comply, but it never did.
Once Ultra started, people wanting to attend the event without tickets toppled the chain-linked fence near the concession area. The chain-linked fence fell on top of security guard Erika Mack as gate crashers walked over it. Mack was hospitalized in critical condition, although her condition has improved.
When asked about how Ultra ignored that the fence request from police, Barreto said the matter was still under review.
“I don’t think there’s an event in this community that doesn’t have some sort of issues related to it,” said Barreto.”
Barreto pledged to continue to work with police for future festivals.