The family of Darrell Caldwell, a rapper known as Drakeo The Ruler who was fatally stabbed backstage at a festival in December, is filing a lawsuit seeking to hold Live Nation and other event promoters responsible for his death. Caldwell was scheduled to perform at the Once Upon a Time in LA music festival in California on December 19 when he was involved in a large altercation that ended with his suffering multiple stab wounds that proved to be fatal despite his being rushed to the hospital.

Caldwell’s family announced plans to file the lawsuit Monday at a news conference this week, accusing Live Nation Entertainment, C3 Presents, and Bobby Dee Presents of negligence in their security at the event. According to reports, the altercation that left Caldwell dead and others seriously injured involved between 40 and 60 individuals. A homicide investigation by Los Angeles Police into the incident remains ongoing, and no arrests have been made in the crime.

From KTLA:

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Video played at the news conference of the moments leading up to the stabbing, which his attorneys called a “targeted assassination,” showed men in red pouring into into the fenced-off backstage area and attacking Caldwell and his small entourage. No security guards or police officers can be seen. Caldwell, who had knife wounds to his neck, died hours later at a hospital, authorities said.

“Mr. Caldwell was essentially lynched by over 40 to 60 people,” attorneys representing the family said. “This would never have happened if those promoters had the proper security protocol. The world lost an amazing artist, a beautiful human being, a father.”

According to Newsweek, the family is seeking at least $20 million in damages from the event operators.

The lawsuit will undoubtedly bring increased scrutiny on the responsibilities of event promoters related to the safety of those who attend, both in the crowd and backstage. Live Nation Entertainment has been battered by questions of that nature in recent months, in the wake of tragic events at Astroworld in Houston, where ten died in a “crowd surge” while hundreds of others suffered injuries. That incident has triggered massive litigation targeting Live Nation and other promoters involved with the event, and caused Congress to demand answers from the entertainment giant with a hearing planned for February.

This incident, though far smaller in scale, adds fuel to those questions.

Once Upon a Time in LA was scheduled to feature 50 Cent, Snoop Dogg, Al Green, YG, The Game, Ice Cube and many others on three stages at Banc of California Stadium and Exposition Park in Los Angeles. Drakeo The Ruler was set for the 830 slot on the “G-Funk” stage. Performances on the day’s schedule had begun hours earlier. Allegedly, Caldwell and others in his group were approached and surrounded by the larger group, leading to the melee.

“They let all these people in, and you’re not supposed to have all these people backstage. And your security is supposed to be in place,” said Caldwell’s mother, Darrylene Corniel, shortly after his death. “The whole program should have been orchestrated a lot better than what it was. And there should have been more protection. Even if you have metal detectors, even if you pat them down, you let those people come in there. You had more people come in than you were supposed to. And you allowed them to jump my son. You didn’t protect my son.”

Last Updated on January 28, 2022

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