Travis Scott will not face criminal charges over Astroworld crowd surge

A grand jury in Texas has declined to charge rapper Travis Scott over a deadly crowd surge at the Astroworld music festival nearly two years ago.

The jury met Thursday as part of a criminal probe into Scott and others involved with the planning of the concert, which left 10 people dead.

Scott’s lawyer Kent Schaffer said the decision comes as “a great relief” to his client.

The rapper still faces multiple civil suits stemming from the Houston show.

Scott, one of the biggest names in rap music, launched Astroworld with concert promoters Live Nation in 2018.

Thousands were injured at the 5 November 2021 event when panic broke out as the over-capacity crowd pressed towards the front of the stage during Scott’s headline performance.

Ten people, ranging in age from nine to 27, were killed by compressive asphyxiation.

The rapper has said the tragedy left him “distraught” but that he was not aware of its extent until coming off stage.

Critics have accused him and fellow rapper Drake of continuing to perform despite accounts of “lifeless bodies being passed through the crowd in full view of the stage”. Houston’s fire chief had stated that Scott should have halted the show much earlier.

Both federal officials and Houston police have been investigating whether Scott, Live Nation and others implemented adequate safety measures for the event.

Scott’s attorney, Mr Schaffer, confirmed in a statement that the jury met but chose not to indict his client, adding that he did not know what charges had been considered.

“He never encouraged people to do anything that resulted in other people being hurt,” Mr Schaffer said.

While he felt sympathy for victims of the crowd surge, Mr Schaffer added: “Travis is not responsible. Bringing criminal charges against him will not ease their pain.”

Lawsuits filed by multiple victims remain active in Texas state courts.

The family of one victim settled with Scott, Live Nation and others in October 2022, although the terms of the agreement have not been disclosed.

Robert Hilliard, the attorney representing another victim’s family, said Thursday “both criminal and civil accountability are critical to ensure that those responsible for the loss of innocent lives understand the permanent devastation they caused these families”.

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