157 arrests made during weekend-long country music festival

0
413
"Country music fans enjoy themselves Friday April 24, 2015 on the opening day of the Stagecoach Country Music Festival in Indio. (Will Lester/Staff Photographer) "

By Mariecar Mendoza, Los Angeles Daily News

INDIO >> A total of 157 people were arrested during the eighth annualStagecoach Country Music Festival, including one person arrested on suspicion of sexual battery, according to the Indio Police Department.

Tevin Caldwell, 21, of Hawthorne reportedly touched “an intimate body part” of a 25-year-old female festivalgoer from Desert Hot Springs, said Sgt. Dan Marshall, spokesman for the Indio Police Department. Caldwell was released from jail in lieu of $3,500 bail, but Marshall explained the misdemeanor sexual battery incident has been filed with the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office.

Other crimes included 13 arrests for being drunk in public, a “simple battery arrest” that Marshall described as a “scuffle” that did not reach felony behavior, plus a felony vandalism arrest. The latter was made April 26 when officers found a man slashing tires on two trucks after the festival, Marshall said.

The biggest factor of all the crimes seemed to be alcohol, with a whopping 89 percent of the arrests due to alcohol violations, according to a pres issued Tuesday morning. Of the 141 arrest made for alcohol violations, four main charges included minors in possession of alcohol, minors in possession of fake IDs, adults giving minors alcohol and minors purchasing alcohol, Marshall said.

“It’s a recurring theme every year. This is more of a problem than atCoachella,” said Marshall, referring to the two weekend-long music festival hosted at the same venue just before Stagecoach.

While Marshall added that he did not know why these alcohol violations are more prevalent at Stagecoach, one of the differences between the two events, both produced by L.A.-based Goldenvoice, is that Stagecoach does not have designated beer gardens. Instead, festivalgoers at Stagecoach can walk around with their alcohol — including hard liquor — throughout the festival grounds.

The arrests are a reflection of police enforcement at Stagecoach that began at 7 a.m. April 23, the day before the festival kicked off, as campers began arriving to the Empire Polo Fields. While “no significant traffic issues” occurred during Stagecoach, Marshall acknowledged there was heavy traffic flow on April 27, the day after the country music festival wrapped up in the desert.

Stagecoach’s arrests this year make up more than half of the arrests during both weekends of the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, which totaled 226 arrests, but still shows a slight decrease in crime. In 2014, 177 people were arrested at Stagecoach, and one rape was reported in 2012.