Ultra Music Festival Pays $400,000 to Man Beaten by Off-Duty Miami Cops in 2011
Photo by George Martinez
It has been an interesting few months for Ultra. In late March, the mega music festival once again drew nearly 200,000 people to Bayfront Park, making untold millions of dollars, and firmly establishing itself as America's premier EDM event.
But a concertgoer's death and a stampede that nearly killed a security guard have also led politicians to demand Ultra be kicked out of downtown Miami.
Now comes news that Ultra's insurance company paid $400,000 in January to a man who was beaten up by the festival's off-duty cops three years ago.
See also: In Defense of Ultra Music Festival
The settlement -- first reported by Al Crespo -- stems from an incident in 2011. That's when Jesse Campodonico and his girlfriend, Crystal Iglesias, flew down from New York to attend Ultra.
They never made it in. Instead, an Ultra security guard stopped the pair because Iglesias had a glowstick in her hand. When Campodonico complained, off-duty Miami cops allegedly attacked him.
In a lawsuit filed last year, Campodonico claimed the cops beat him, choked him, and threw him to the ground, where they then shot him with a Taser three times.
Campodonico was initially charged with battery, but those charges were eventually dropped.
"There was nothing I could do but try to survive," Campodonico, told the Miami Herald. "I was trying to cover myself. There was no fighting back. It was just me trying to protect myself from them killing me."
The cops accused of attacking him, meanwhile, have all been involved in other controversies. Two of them are now in prison: Nathaniel Dauphin and Harold James were convicted of providing police protection for an illegal gambling ring.
Ultra security guard Erica Mack suffered a broken leg and head trauma after gatecrashers trampled her.
Courtesy of Ivette Lozano
Six months after the Ultra altercation, Officer Edward Lugo was accused of roughing up a woman and her 85-year-old mother for crossing a police line to get home. And Sgt. Javier Ortiz -- whom Campodonico accused of fabricating a police report to cover up the beating -- has been at the center of several controversies as the department's union president.
A City of Miami memo shows City Manager Johnny Martinez signing off on the settlement agreement with Campodonico. The document shows that Ultra's insurance company, National Casualty Company, paid him $400,000 to drop his suit against the festival, city, and police.
A similar lawsuit is likely in the March 29 trampling of 28-year-old Ultra security guard Erica Mack.
Tomorrow, city commissioners are set to vote on a resolution that would ban Ultra from Bayfront Park. Mayor Tomás Regalado and Commissioner Marc Sarnoff have pointed to the trampling of Mack and the death of 21-year-old concertgoer Adonis Escoto as signs that the festival has spiraled out of control.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Miami New Times' biggest stories.