Numerous accounts from attendees of an outdoor electronic music event in Utah county indicate excessive force used by Sherrif and SWAT officers. A video has surfaced depicting officers dressed in full military fatigues raiding the main stage of the event. Local news stations side with police in initial reports.
Attendees of the outdoor electronic music event dubbed “Versus II” taking place the evening of Saturday, August 20th in the Diamond Fork area of Spanish Fork Canyon in Utah County arrived at the event with confidence that the concert organizers had obtained the proper permits and legal clearance to hold the event. Personal accounts available at the local electronic community websiteutrave.org paint a scene of police brutality and mayhem, many accounts bearing eyewitness to the forceful arrest of young girls.
Reports state that at approximately 11:30pm upwards of 90 officers, many wearing full camouflage gear, gathered from Sherrif and SWAT departments in surrounding areas stormed the previously peaceful gathering dedicated to music and dance. At least 1 helicopter was dispatched, along with large tranport vehicles designated for both officers and detainees. Numerous statements from attendees indicate excessive force being exerted by many officers. Inuries including mild to severe bruises and cuts have been reported by party goers as young as age 17.
The Utah County Sherrif’s Office has expressed a long term vendetta against what they call “Rave” parties. Statements from the Sherrif’s office as well as eyewitness accounts make it clear that this was a premeditated attack on the promoters and community supporting these events. While the Sherrif’s office has stated that many drugs and pieces of paraphernalia were obtained, they fail to note how many of the 60+ citations were for drug violations. Many accounts indicate the majority of citations and arrests were for resisting arrest. The Sherrif’s office states that the party was raided on the grounds of failure to obtain a mass gathering permit for an event hosting more than 250 attendees. Reports vary as to the number in attendance, estimation ranging from 250 to 1,400. Controversy exists as to whether a mass gathering permit was actually obtained, however, a Health Department permit was obtained, and hired security and emergency medical service personnel were on site.
Many eyewitness accounts indicate that officers singled out party goers attempting to document the events on camcorders, cameras and camera phones. Victims have claimed that officers knocked cameras out of the hands of the owner, even confiscating some. Luckily, one video has surfaced, and is quickly spreading across the internet, as well as being featured by at least one local news station. The video clearly displays a large number of officers dressed in full camouflage fatigues, some brandishing rifles. In the higher quality version of the video, which includes sound, it is apparent that the use of a taser was employed. While the video is somewhat unclear at times, the viewer can plainly see an officer atop a young girl fully subdued on the ground on her stomach; he swings on her at least twice, as more officers rush forward to manhandle the girl. It is clear that many others were subdued using similar levels of force.
Initial reports from local news stations side with the Sherrif’s Office, one anchor calling the event a “drug party” without batting an eye. Reports tend to focus on the drugs and paraphernalia acquired by police, rather than the obvious violation of civil liberties reported by those in attendance and depicted by the amateur video, which has been provided to all major local news agencies.
Surprisingly, the local Fox News affiliate Fox 13 seemed to give the most unbiased report, stating that many attendees had reported excessive force, as well as showing the official media response from the Utah County Sherrif’s Office. Clips of the previously mentioned video were also shown.
Other news agencies have gone along with the Sherrif’s Office in painting a picture of drugs, guns, and sexual assault running rampant at electronic music events in general, and especially this one. KUTV Channel 2 News blatantly inferred that the hired security was merely in place to prevent the sale of drugs by anyone but the event organizers. All major reports restate the claim made by the Sherrif’s department that a 17-year-old girl was found by officers to have overdosed on ecstasy, treated on site, then released to her parents.
Many attendees and members of the electronic music and dance community are organizing lawsuits against the Sherrif’s Office. The ACLU has been contacted as well as many organizations dedicated to educating and protecting the electronic music community. Vigilant party goers are compiling evidence, including video and pictures of the event, as well as personal accounts and documentation of injuries inflicted by law enforcement.
On the Turntables Currently: – Doctor_Who_-_Requiem_No.9_Remix