13 Investigates new event task force turning blind eye to Astroworld Festival

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A newly formed Special Events Task Force designed to make Houston-area events safer is not looking into what went wrong at November's deadly Astroworld Festival.

The task force, announced at Houston's City Hall Wednesday morning, includes all the major players in the planning and response to what happened during the festival.

The Special Events Task Force members include:

  • Susan Christian - Director of Mayor's Office of Special Events
  • Troy Finner - Houston Police Department Chief
  • Sam Peña - Houston Fire Department Chief
  • Steve Adelman - Vice President of Event Safety Alliance
  • Rob McKinley - Co-founder, President and Owner of LD Systems
  • Major Rolf Nelson - Harris County Sheriff's Office
  • Ryan Walsh - Executive Director of Harris County Sports and Convention Corporation
  • Mike Demarco - Chief of Show Operations Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo
  • Laurie Christensen - Harris County Fire Marshal
  • Harry K. Turner Sr. - Deputy County Administrator of Justice and Public Safety

They are some of the people who would best know what some of the mistakes may have been, but they will apparently not have to share those answers.

At the announcement, Mayor Sylvester Turner made it clear the task force is about the future, not the past.

"This task force is going to be futuristic," Turner said. "The investigation for the Astroworld event continues so we certainly don't want to impede in that investigation."

Turner's office confirms the mayor was speaking about the ongoing criminal investigation led by HPD with help from the FBI. That probe is looking for crimes that may have been committed at Astroworld, not mistakes made in planning or carrying out the event.

13 Investigates can't find any Houston or Harris County group that is doing that work. Harris County commissioners turned down a suggestion from county Judge Lina Hidalgo to hire an outside expert to do that. The city has not either.

While under questioning Wednesday, Turner denied it could be a problem.

"Task forces of this kind happen all the time," he said. "This is not unique. This is not different."

The city and county are named in some of the nearly 400 lawsuits filed after the Astroworld tragedy. Legal experts consulted by 13 Investigates suggest any answers this group found would have to be turned over to lawyers suing the city or county making it difficult to deny all liability.

For more ABC13 Coverage of Astroworld Tragedy visit our website.

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