Ultra Music Festival Hires Miami Beach Police Chief As Its New Security Director
Ultra Music Festival has announced that its new security director will be none other than current Miami Beach police chief Ray Martinez.
Photo by George Martinez Ultra is hoping hiring Miami Beach police chief Ray Martinez fixes its security problems.
The move makes sense. Martinez already announced that he's stepping down at the end of this month. Meanwhile, Ultra is seeking to assuage the City of Miami after a security disaster in which gatecrashers trampled a private guard.
But that doesn't mean the marriage is made in heaven. Under Martinez, Miami Beach police fatally Tasered a teenage graffiti artist, roughed up a model, and beat-up a good samaritan for coming to her aid. How will he handle Ultra?
On March 28, a crowd of young men jumped on of Ultra's fences, trampling 28-year-old security guard Erica Mack in the process. She is still recovering from a broken leg and brain trauma.
The incident -- first reported by New Times -- has spurred mayor Tomás Regalado and commissioner Marc Sarnoff to call for Ultra to be shut down or moved outside Miami.
By hiring Martinez, Ultra appears to be trying to stem the flood of security related questions surrounding the festival.
"Chief Martinez has built a record of distinguished service in law enforcement and we are honored to have his insight and leadership as part of the Ultra team," said Russell Faibisch, one of Ultra's founders, in a press release.
"The safety of our event, fans, crew and personnel has always been our number one concern," he continued. "For over 14 years we have worked hand-in-hand with the Bayfront Park Management Trust, City of Miami law enforcement and the downtown business community to provide a safe environment for our local and visiting fans, and our dedicated crew members who help to make Ultra a success. Under Chief Martinez's leadership our commitment will only be strengthened as we strive to provide the highest quality event at all levels."
Martinez -- a former marine and purple heart recipient -- is widely credited with calming a department that was dangerously out of control. In the months before he took over, Miami Beach cops nearly killed half a dozen innocent people.
During Memorial Day Weekend 2011, MBPD fired 116 bullets to stop drunk driver Raymond Herisse. But stray bullets also caught three bystanders, spawning litigation against the city.