Militarized Police Storm Utah Rave, Beat Partygoers
Progressive U | August 23 2005
About 90 law enforcement officers from multiple agencies broke up what they said was a rave party on public and private property in the Diamond Fork area of Spanish Fork canyon, an hour outside of Salt Lake City, Utah, at about 11:30 p.m. Saturday.
According to the county, the sheriff's office had been investigating similar parties since the beginning of the season.
In a press release from the Sheriff's office in Utah County, the department claims that previous allegations of sexual abuse while attending other raves, as well as various firearm and theft violations, were reason for the investigation.
The release continues to state that the proper permit was not obtained before the party started.
Armed with assault rifles and tear gas, the police used dogs to sweep the crowd for narcotics. At least one helicopter was used in the operation. The scale of the police response was apparently due to the ineffectiveness of a smaller force used in the previous "Sequence Five" rave. Prior to dispersing the partiers, several police informants had reportedly infiltrated the rave and observed widespread illegal activities.
|The promoter says the party took place on private property, named Child's Ranch, with express permission from the owner. The property owner has apparently had at least one previous run-in with police over a similar event. Utah County requires a permit, bond and county commission approval for all gatherings with more than 250 people present. According to a DJ at the event, "they presold 700 tickets and they expected up to 3,000 people total". He added that by the time police arrived "the crowd was about 1500 people thick".
The police have publicly stated that these permits were not obtained, but the promoters claim otherwise. Officials also claim that the party had spilled over onto public land.
Police reported in local press that more than 60 arrests were made for weapons offenses, driving under the influence, underage drinking, drug possession and distribution, resisting arrest, assault on a police officer and disorderly conduct. Officers claim to have found cocaine, ecstasy, marijuana, mushrooms, alcohol and large amounts of drug paraphernalia. Some of the drugs may include those confiscated from partiers by security guards.
||Amateur video from the scene shows a number of SWAT police (estimates are at 90) screaming orders at the DJs to "Shut it down now!" and yelling at others to "get out now, or I'll kick your ass in jail". Armed police are also seen tackling a number of rave-goers, and it is unclear from the video footage whether these attendees attempted to attack the police. Due to the low resolution, automatic lighting adjustment, and low audio quality, the video appears to have been taken with a cellular phone.
A first hand account from a DJ booked to play at the party stated that while police were arresting a man accused of narcotic possession, the suspect was beaten to the ground and continually "kicked in the ribs" by 4 armed "soldiers" dressed in camouflage. According to the account, nobody resisted the policemen but tear gas was still used as partiers were already dispersing quietly. The DJ also states that police were attempting to confiscate video equipment, but an amateur video has still surfaced on the internet (see sources below).
Several partygoers felt they should have the right to attend a rave where drugs are being used, so long as they don't personally use them:
"While it may be true that some individuals choose to take drugs at said events like this, myself as well as many others choose to go for the music. Just like anything, you have bad apples, but you shouldn't cut down the tree." "Raves are not the only musical gatherings where drugs are used and distributed."
Other partygoers felt that the use of force in the shutdown was excessive - numerous eyewitness accounts by concertgoers describe people being beaten, tasered, or attacked with dogs. One account from an attendee, identified as "Colby", states:
"I saw at least two people being beaten on the ground while barking, snarling dogs are held just a few feet from them. Weapons were being pointed at unarmed, peaceful civilians. A friend of mine was forced at gunpoint to put his hands on his head and turn around, because he asked if he could get his things from the tent."
|Utah County sheriff's Sergeant Darren Gilbert said a 17-year-old girl was found overdosed on ecstasy, and was treated and released to her parents. Multiple lawsuits are being threatened against the city. According to an advertisement for the event, an attorney was present at the party. The local sheriff is scheduled to appear on Utah TV following a number of complaints being sent to TV stations and the police.
UTAH RAVERS TREATED LIKE TERRORISTS!
Daily Kos | August 23 2005
UTAH RAVERS TREATED LIKE TERRORISTS! EVOL INTENT'S ACCOUNT OF THE INCIDENT!
Last night, I was booked to play an event about an hour outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. The hype behind this show was huge, they presold 700 tickets and they expected up to 3,000 people total. The promoters did an amazing job with the show.. they even made slipmats with the flyers on them to promote in local shops.
So, we got to the show around 11:15 or so and it was really cool. It was all outdoors, in a valley surrounded by huge mountains. They had an amazing light show flashing on to a mountain behind the site, the sound was booming, the crowd was about 1500 people thick and everything just seemed too good to be true really. Well...
At about 11:30 or so, I was standing behind the stage talking with someone when I noticed a helicopter pulling over one of the mountain tops. I jokingly said "Oh look, here comes big brother" to the person I was with. I wasn't far off.
The helicopter dipped lower and lower and started shining its lights on the crowd. I was kind of in awe and just sat and watched this thing circle us for a minute. As I looked back towards the crowd I saw a guy dressed in camoflauge walking by, toting an assault rifle. At this point, everyone was fully aware of what was going on . A few "troops" rushed the stage and cut the sound off and started yelling that everyone "get the fuck out of here or go to jail". This is where it got really sticky.
No one resisted. That's for sure. They had police dogs raiding the crowd of people and I saw a dog signal out a guy who obviously had some drugs on him. The soldiers attacked the guy (4 of them on 1), and kicked him a few times in the ribs and had their knees in his back and sides. As they were cuffing him, there was about 1000 kids trying to leave in the backdrop, peacefully. Next thing I know, A can of fucking TEAR GAS is launched into the crowd. People are running and screaming at this point. Girls are crying, guys are cussing... bad scene.
Now, this is all I saw with my own eyes, but I heard plenty of other accounts of the night. Now this isnt gossip I heard from some candy raver, these are instances cited straight out of the promoters mouth..
One of the promoters friends (a very small female) was attacked by one of the police dogs. As she struggled to get away from it, the police tackled her. 3 grown men proceeded to KICK HER IN THE STOMACH.
The police confiscated 3 video tapes in total. People were trying to document what was happening out there. The police saw one guy filming and ran after him, tackled him and his camera fell, and luckily.. his friend grabbed it and ran and got away. priceless footage. That's not all though. Out of 1,500 people, there's sure to be more footage.
The police were rounding up the staff of the party and the main promoter went up to them with the permit for the show and said "here, I have the permit." The police then said, "no you don't" and ripped the permit out of his hand. Then, they put an assault rifle to his forehead and said "get the fuck out of here right now."
Now.. let's get the facts straight here.
This event was 100% legal. They had every permit the city told them they needed. They had a 2 MILLION DOLLAR insurance policy for the event. They had liscenced security guards at the gates confiscating any alcohol or drugs found upon entry (yes, they searched every car on the way in). Oh, I suppose I should mention that they arrested all the security guards for possession.
Oh another interesting fact.. the police did not have a warrant. The owner of the land already has a lawsuit against the city for something similar. A few months ago, she rented her land for a party and the police raided that as well. And catch this, the police forced her to LEAVE HER OWN PERSONAL PROPERTY. That's right. They didnt arrest her, but made her leave her own property!!!
Don't get it twisted, this is all going down in probably THE most conservative state in the USA. And this is scary.. a gross violation of our civil liberties. The police wanted this party shut down, so they made it happen. Even though everything about this event was legal. The promoters spent over $ 20,000 on this show and did everything they had to to make it legit, only to have it taken away from them by a group of radical neo-con's with an agenda.
This was one of the scariest things I have ever witnessed in person. I can't even begin to describe how surreal it was. Helicopters, assault rifles, tear gas, camoflauge-wearing soldiers.... why? Was that really necessary?
This needs to be big news across the USofA. At least in our music scene (edm as a whole)... this could happen to any of us at any time. When we're losing the right to gather peacefully, we're also letting the police set a standard of what we can get away with. And I think that's BULLSHIT!
The system fucked up last night... They broke up a party that was 100% legal and they physically hurt a lot of people there at the same time. The promoters already have 6 lawsuits ready to file with their lawyers and the ACLU is already involved.
I'm sure some pictures (and hopefully some video) will surface soon. I'll make sure to post them up here on 404, so you can see the Police State of America at work.
p.s. - there are more stories of police brutality that i'll post up later. gotta hit the airport soon. can't wait to get the fuck out of this shit hole state.
SHERIFF'S STATEMENT: http://www.utahcountyonline.org/News/DeptNewsDetails.asp?
Witnesses say undue force used at rave
Utah Daily Herald | August 23 2005
Firsthand accounts conflict so starkly that one might wonder whether law enforcement busted two separate events last weekend in Spanish Fork Canyon. Yet the Diamond Fork-area location is among few details confirmed by both the roughly 300 partygoers and about 90 law enforcement personnel who dispelled them at 11:30 p. m. Saturday.
Uprock Records of Salt Lake City promoted the event as an "album-release party" on fliers and Internet sites like www.utrave.org. In addition to live performances by DJ Craze of Miami and Spor from the United Kingdom, the party featured typical highlights like a laser light show, barbecue, oxygen bar and glow sticks.
Undercover deputies and SWAT members depict a rave with rampant illegal activity. Beyond the anticipated drugs -- ecstasy, cocaine, marijuana, mushrooms -- they discovered counterfeit money, guns and an overdosed 17-year-old girl.
But where the stories drastically diverge is the raid.
The Utah County Sheriff's Office reported 18 citations for disorderly conduct, failure to disperse or related charges; 21 alcohol- or drug-related offenses; two for assaulting a peace officer; and two related to firearms. Sheriff Jim Tracy said most of the crowd left peacefully, and deputies exercised a "takedown method" only to arrest those who actively resisted.
Witnesses, however, allege "soldiers" and SWAT members held "AK-47s" to partygoers' heads, punched girls in the face and unleashed an arsenal of everything from attack dogs to tear gas.
"At about 11:30 a helicopter began circling the party," said one partygoer in an e-mail to the Daily Herald. "Out of nowhere huge semis filled with National Guard, SWAT and the police rolled up. Soldiers came out of the bushes and rushed down to the party carrying M-16s, AK-47s, nightsticks and Tasers. They proceeded to attack random people and push their might around on people who had done nothing."
Partygoers and rave fans worldwide are circulating video footage through the Internet to support such claims -- while Tracy used the same clips to defend law enforcement.
"No excessive force was used," he said emphatically.
The SWAT personnel -- including teams from Utah County, Provo, the state Department of Corrections and the Department of Public Safety -- are always prepared with a wide arsenal of riot-fighting gear, including tear gas and canines, but Tracy said they did not use any such weapons Saturday night. The tactical gear is camouflaged similar to military fatigues, but neither the National Guard nor any other military was present.
Josh Witbeck, one of the security staff hired by organizers for the event, has interacted with police at several similar events during three years as a bouncer in Salt Lake-area nightclubs, but police hostility, like he said he observed Saturday night, is rare.
"I was trying to keep the crowds as calm as possible. I knew better than to interfere with the cops, but we all got treated pretty poorly," he said. "I'm not going to place all the blame on the police, but they treated every person here like a criminal."
Tracy said a primary issue was promoters did not obtain the mass gathering permit required by Utah County for events with more than 250 people. To do so would have required at least 30 days notice and approval from the sheriff's office. County officials acknowledged that organizers did receive a health permit regulating such aspects as portable toilets and on-site emergency medical personnel.
Brandon Fullmer, manager of the Uprock Records company that promoted the event, argues that he also obtained the mass gathering permit. He said authorities were denying him a copy of it for proof, but a county official agreed to write a letter verifying it.
"We were not there to start any problems," Fullmer said. "What the cops did was wrong."
Regardless, Utah County authorities defended the raid.
"That's all smoke and mirrors," said County Commissioner Steve White. "They were selling drugs. They were committing illegal acts, and as soon as that happened it doesn't matter what kind of permit they had."
So while Fullmer is consulting his attorney about a possible lawsuit, local law enforcement vow to crack down on the increasingly popular raves.
"There's a legal way to do this, and there's the illegal," Tracy said. "If young folks want to get together and listen to music and dance, we don't care if they go about it the legal way."
Tracy said they are monitoring the Internet, searching for fliers and dispatching helicopters on reconnaissance missions over Utah Valley to locate such gatherings before they expand to thousands of people -- beyond what law enforcement can control.
"If they're going to run one on a Wednesday night, we'll find it," he said. "We will ensure we find them and have them curtailed before they ever get to that point.