Seattle Police refusing off-duty cops to work FreakNight

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by KING 5 News

KREM.com

Posted on October 18, 2013 at 7:54 AM

Updated Friday, Oct 18 at 8:01 AM

FreakNight is a wild Halloween party that is expected to draw more than 20,000 people to CenturyLink Field this year. But aside from the music and dancing, the sheer size of the bash has many concerned about safety, including police.

This year, the Seattle Police Deparment and King County Sheriff's Office are refusing to allow off duty cops to work the rave.

FreakNight is not for the faint of heart. It's hard pounding electronics and often associated with hard core drug use.

This year, the King County sheriff will not permit his off-duty deputies to work at FreakNight.

"There have been problems in the past. I'm told there were significant problems last year," said King County Sheriff John Urquhart.

Last year, it was a problem magnet. At CenturyLink's WaMu Theater, FreakNight attracted nearly 22,000 young people. With assaults, a reported rape and many drug overdoses, the fire department couldn't keep track of the number of medic units called to the scene. A Seattle police incident report said "a public safety hazard was created."

Last summer, at an electronic music event at the Gorge put on by the same promoter, USC Events, nearly 70 patients were rushed to the hospital. More than half were treated for drug issues, including what's called Molly, a potentially dangerous form of MDMA, the chemical in Ecstasy. For 21-year-old Patrick Witkowski, it was a fatal concert.

For the upcoming FreakNight, USC promises security changes, an anti-drug message to ravers, 21 medic workers and 380 private security guards.

USC is disappointed that Seattle and King County law enforcement will not work the event.

"If their concern was safety and security at the event, then you would think they would want to be a part of it and have their folks on the ground," said Alex Fryer, USC representative.

"All they have to do is call 911. It's simple. If they want a police response, they call 911," said Urquhart.

The promoter has another dance event coming up on New Years Eve in Seattle, but for now, after the police spat, they're in talks to move the event to the Tacoma Dome.

FreakNight is in its ninth year in Seattle. USC Events has had shows at the Puyallup Fair, the Paramount and the Showbox, without incident.

 

KING 5's Linda Brill contributed to this report.

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