Darrell Caldwell, known by his stage name Drakeo the Ruler, 28, was stabbed to death backstage minutes before he was set to perform at the “Once Upon a Time In LA” music festival in December.
Filed on behalf of his 5-year-old son, Caiden Caldwell, the suit accuses concert touring company Live Nation and other organizers of the festival of “a complete and abject failure” to provide proper security for the event held at the Banc of California Stadium.
Security at stadium did not intervene when the rapper’s entourage was involved in an altercation with unknown assailants, according to the lawsuit. After the altercation, the lawsuit says Caldwell and his entourage continued to make their way to the backstage area of the stage where he was due to perform. The filing says “scores of people” dressed in red and wearing ski masks “suddenly” surrounded Caldwell and his entourage, which included a private security guard.
The lawsuit says Caldwell and his entourage were then “subjected to a vicious and unrelenting attack of nearly 113 men” lasting for at least 10 minutes. Caldwell was stabbed during what the lawsuit described as a “modern day lynching” by a “violent mob of purported members of a Los Angeles based Bloods gang” and later died of his injuries at a hospital.
The lawsuit says Live Nation and other defendants were aware of the “prevalence of gang activity” in the area, stating that their “failure to provide proper security measures was a substantial factor in the untimely death” of Caldwell.
The defendants, the lawsuit alleges, were also aware the rapper had been “falsely accused of being involved with the murder of a member of an Inglewood Bloods gang” and was being targeted by gang members seeking revenge.
“I’m a prime example of what happens to 90% of Black people in the system,” Drakeo said in the interview. “I was acquitted of damn near every single charge, and I still had to plead to a gang enhancement to go home.”
Live Nation did not immediately respond for comment, but a representative for the company and the festival told the Los Angeles Times: “Once Upon a Time in L.A. joins Drakeo’s family, friends, and fans in grieving his loss. The festival is continuing to support local authorities in their investigation as they pursue the facts.”