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Police bust Utah rave, arrest 60, assault others

Updated Police on Saturday night busted a rave in Utah County, Utah, arresting 60 and, according to eyewitness accounts, committed various acts of brutality and violence against several people at the rave.

It was verified that more than 250 individuals were at the party, in violation or county statutes and by 11:30 pm law enforcement personnel moved in to curtail and disburse the party. During this process at least 60 arrests were made for weapons offenses, DUI, illegal underage consumption of alcohol, possession of marijuana, possession of cocaine, possession of methamphetamine, possession of ecstasy, distribution of ecstasy, resisting arrest, assault on a police officer, and disorderly conduct. — Utah County Sheriff

According to the sheriff’s department, the rave did not have the required mass gathering permit. Utah County requires a mass gathering permit and a bond for any assembly of over 250 people. According to eyewitness reports, well over 1,000 were in attendance.

Eyewitnesses report many instances of police brutality and unnecessary violence. One of the DJs at the event had this to say:

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.”

More eyewitness reports are available, and a video of the first couple of minutes of the bust has surfaced. Several people in attendance reported having their cameras and mobile phones seized by police as they were attempting to record the bust.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

I had the unfortunate luck to spend two weeks in Provo, Utah, in 1991, and this sounds about right for the heavily Mormon county. Whether some of the people there were doing drugs or not, this is clearly an abuse of power, both on the part of the sheriff’s department, and on the part of the county, for requiring a “mass gathering” permit. It is not within the bounds of government to restrict the free, peaceful assembly of people. Or it’s not supposed to be, anyway. Here we see clearly what the police state is all about: not protecting our innocent teenagers from drugs, but protecting the government from people who dissent, or who just came to dance.

What country is this, anyway?

Update: More news coverage today from the Provo Daily Herald and the Salt Lake Tribune.

Update 2: Jason Ramsey commented over at Hit & Run that he contacted Utah County and discovered that the rave did indeed have the required mass gathering permit.

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