When I left the Flying Lotus/Nas/Schoolboy Q show last Thursday night at Red Rocks, nothing seemed particularly out of the ordinary. My crew decided to call it quits halfway through Fly Lo's closing set so we could get out of the park easily and head home. But before reaching our car, we were greeted by dozens of police and other uniformed officers holding what looked to be M-16s.
We stopped and asked someone who looked to be a parks or park security employee what was going on. "Shots were fired," he said.
As police helicopters swarmed overhead, I took to Twitter to find out what was going on. At the time, what was being posited as a shooting at 6th and Kalamath was taking over my feed, but there was very little information on what was going on at Red Rocks. I would later learn that the incident on Kalamath was connected to the Red Rocks situation. But still, we were given nothing in the way of information about what would be our hours-long detainment by the police or the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department -- though both agencies were actively on Twitter that night.
News outlets were reporting via Twitter that the park would be open tomorrow -- they were posting in the past tense -- so the story would be ready for readers in the morning, I assume. But that left those of us still stuck inside the park out in the cold.
Everything I came to find out -- there had been a shooting outside the amphitheater (we couldn't hear it from inside the venue and I was told those still inside were never notified of a potentially dangerous situation) and police were searching every car in the park -- came by way of other bystanders stuck in the mess. Not police.
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We sat in our car for nearly three hours with no information properly given to us about what was going on or why we were being held inside the park. Once traffic did begin to move around 2:30 A.M., no cops were in sight to even help direct the multiple streams of exasperated concert-goers. I was in awe of law enforcement's silence.
When we finally reached the park exit, officers asked if we had any guns in the car. Then we were instructed to get out so they could search our car. Although I'm not versed on what is and isn't legal in this kind of situation, it seemed questionable. We obliged the search -- it was late and we were all tired. But thinking more about it in the morning, I was pretty pissed.
Being held inside your car for three hours without any information from law enforcement after an apparent shooting -- one that took place in the very area you're being held while search helicopters hover overhead, no less -- was not cool. And the fact that there are avenues like Twitter to disseminate information about our safety that weren't being used was B.S.
I don't know protocol in this situation, but I do know that from a bystander's perspective, there were many avenues of ensuring people's safety that were not used.