Love Parade Disaster Prosecutors Investigate 16 over Deadly Event

Twenty-one people died at the Love Parade rave music event in Duisburg, Germany last July. Six months later, prosecutors say they have launched investigations into 16 people including a police officer, city officials and workers at the event's private organizer -- in possible manslaughter and negligence charges.

A sign at the site of 21 deaths in July in Duisburg reads: "In remembrance of victims of Love Parade 2010."
REUTERS

A sign at the site of 21 deaths in July in Duisburg reads: "In remembrance of victims of Love Parade 2010."


The public prosecutor's office in Duisburg, Germany, announced Tuesday it had initiated investigations into 16 people in connection with the deaths and mass injuries that occurred in July at the Love Parade rave party held in the city. Those under investigation in connection with the deaths include city employees, people working for the festival's organizers as well as a police department worker, a spokesman for the prosecutor's office said on Tuesday. Investigators are looking into suspicions of manslaughter and negligence.

On July 24, 2010, 21 people died after they were crushed and suffocated in a tunnel that served as the entry and exit to the festival. More than 500 people were injured.

According to information obtained by SPIEGEL ONLINE, the subjects of the investigation include the head of the city's legal department, the head of its urban development department, the deputy director of the local office of public order and the so-called crowd manager at Lopavent, the company that staged the Love Parade. The source said a leading police official in Duisburg is also under investigation.

At this time, however, prosecutors are not investigating Duisburg Mayor Adolf Sauerland, who came under massive criticism for his city's handling of crowds at the event, or Lopavent head Rainer Schaller, who owns Germany's popular McFit chain of gyms and had revitalized the festival after it moved from Berlin to the Ruhr area in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia. Eleven city workers are included in the investigation, as well as four from Lopavent and one police officer.

City Mayor Sauerland said on Tuesday that no city employees had violated their responsibilities and that he would do everything in his power to support those workers.

Charges Still Under Consideration

"The determination of an initial suspicion does not necessarily mean that the accused will have to answer to a court," a statement by the public prosecutor's office stated. Officials said further investigation would determine whether any charges will be brought.

Over the past six months, 2,200 witnesses have provided testimony, and investigators have analyzed numerous photos, hundreds of hours of video and several terabytes of electronic data as they pieced together the day's tragic events. The statement concluded "that other people may be added to the list of suspects."

dsl -- with wires

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