Travis Scott’s lawyer claims the rapper wasn’t aware of the “full effect” of the Astroworld tragedy until the morning after.
Scott’s attorney Edwin F. McPherson appeared on Good Morning America Friday — one week after the fatal Houston concert that has now killed nine attendees — saying that there “obviously was a systemic breakdown that we need to get to the bottom of before we start pointing fingers at anyone.”
McPherson claimed the mass casualty declaration made by authorities that night “absolutely did not” make it to Scott, 30, or his team as the artist kept performing the show. “In fact,” he claimed, “we’ve seen footage of police half an hour later just walking about and not looking like it was a mass casualty event.”
“But clearly the important thing is that never got to Travis, that never got to Travis’ crew. He’s up there trying to perform; he does not have any ability to know what’s going on down below, certainly on a mass level,” said McPherson during the interview.
The attorney added, “Travis didn’t really understand the full effect of everything until the next morning. Truly he did not know what was going on,” noting instances when Scott did stop to check on fans during the performance. “Understand that when he’s up on the stage and he has flashpots going off around him and he has an ear monitor that has music blasting through it and his own voice, he can’t hear anything, he can’t see anything.”
In a statement to PEOPLE on Wednesday, McPherson addressed what he says has been “finger-pointing” by city officials, “who have sent inconsistent messages and have backtracked from original statements” regarding last Friday’s events.
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“Houston Police Chief Troy Finner was quoted in the New York Times as saying ‘You cannot just close when you got 50,000 and over 50,000 individuals. We have to worry about rioting, riots, when you have a group that’s that young,’ ” McPherson continued. “Yet, just a short time later, Chief Finner states the responsibility to stop the show falls on Travis.”
During a press conference Wednesday, Finner asserted that local officials did not have the power to end Scott’s performance, even after the situation in the crowd became dangerous. “The ultimate authority to end the show is with the production and the entertainer,” he said.
The police chief later added that he didn’t want to “point fingers” until the investigation was complete.
In his statement to PEOPLE, McPherson added: “It was reported that the Operations Plan designated that only the festival director and executive producers have authority to stop the show, neither of which is part of Travis’s crew. This also runs afoul of HPD’s own previous actions when it shut down the power and sound at this very festival when the performance ran over 5 minutes back in 2019.”
Erika Goldring/WireImage Travis Scott performs during 2021 Astroworld Festival
He concluded, “Investigations should start proceeding over finger-pointing so that together, we can identify exactly what transpired and how we can prevent anything like this from happening again.”
Nine people have died and more than 300 people were injured as a result of a fatal crowd surge at Astroworld Festival. At least 36 lawsuits have been filed against Scott and concert organizers over the incident, the Houston Chronicle reported.
An insider close to Scott tells PEOPLE that the rapper could not see anything or hear beyond the inner-ear producers, adding that no one told him to stop the show until he ended the concert at 10:10 p.m. local time.
The source previously told PEOPLE that Scott was unaware of the magnitude of the situation. “The lights were shining in his eyes and he couldn’t see what was happening,” said the source. “He thought someone had just passed out, which happens during concerts.”
Following the event, Scott posted a series of videos to his Instagram Story on Saturday, saying he was “horrified” by what happened at his show and pledging to help the victims’ families. “I’m honestly just devastated and I could never imagine anything like this happening,” Scott said.