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Man found dead, SWAT called to Sonic Bloom Festival in Georgetown

Update: Police launch excessive force investigation in streaker tasing, identify dead man

A number of disasters marred the Sonic Bloom Festival on Sunday in Georgetown, including one death, power outages and a SWAT response to angry concertgoers.

Early Sunday morning on the final day of the electronic music festival, a man was found dead in a tent inside the festival campgrounds, according to festival spokeswoman Ami Heinrich. The cause of death is unknown and festival organizers are awaiting an autopsy. At this point, Heinrich said there is no reason to believe drugs were involved. The man was found in a stranger’s tent without any form of identification and had been dead for many hours when responders arrived, Heinrich said. She added festival organizers were notified around 9 a.m.

In response to the death, Sonic Bloom staff organized a “ceremony and prayer in regards to the community loss,” Heinrich said. About 400-500 people came together for a group hug and to “celebrate the life of the unknown concertgoer.”

 

Later that day, a micro burst — a tornado-like blast of air — blew a festival tent over and knocked out the power in Georgetown and Idaho Springs for a few hours, according to Heinrich. This caused a number of problems throughout the festival and surrounding area, including a trailer being flipped over, trapping a group of people inside. They were then cut from the trailer by emergency personnel. The micro burst caused only minor injuries.

The problems for Sonic Bloom Festival continued as the day wore on and “emotions were heightened” among concertgoers, Heinrich said.

Police responded to what Heinrich called a “happy naked man” near the festival campsite. Police waited for him to step onto the public road to detain the man, Heinrich said.

“They brutally took him down, tackled him into a ditch and repeatedly tazered him,” Heinrich said. “I believe they may have overreacted and detained the man in a way that could be considered excessive force.”

According to Heinrich, festivalgoers “responded in kind” to the situation with yelling back and forth between with responders. A SWAT team arrived at the scene of the disturbance, but the angry crowd had already been calmed. The Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Office did not respond to to multiple attempt calls and voicemails.

The streaker was taken away in an ambulance. Heinrich said there were no other arrests or charges during the four-day festival that brought about 3,500 people. Performers included Lucent Dossier Experience, Opiuo, VibeSquad, Random Rab and others.

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