Drakeo The Ruler’s brother and other members of his Stinc Team rap collective claim in a dramatic new lawsuit that promoters’ negligence allowed the “vicious” backstage “mob attack” that resulted in not just Drakeo’s murder, but their own “severe physical and emotional harm.”
The new complaint, filed Thursday in Los Angeles and obtained by Rolling Stone, reveals chilling new details about Drakeo’s stabbing death at the Dec. 18 Once Upon a Time in LA music festival. It alleges Live Nation, C3 Presents, Bobby Dee Presents and Snoop Dogg’s LLC, among others, should be held liable for a string of security failures.
Drakeo, born Darrell Caldwell, was fatally stabbed in the neck by an unidentified assailant just minutes before he was due to take the stage at the massive event, touting dozens of performers ranging from Snoop Dogg and Al Green to 50 Cent and YG.
According to the new lawsuit, “caravans of multiple vehicles” were admitted to the backstage VIP area without proper screening, and Drakeo’s entourage was subsequently targeted by an “ongoing mob attack that lasted up to 15 minutes” without any intervention by venue security.
The filing alleges Drakeo’s brother, Devante Caldwell, was side by side with the “Flu Flamming” rapper when a VIP parking lot attack on Stinc Team members Kevin Gomez and Jorky Peralta spilled over into an initial five-minute skirmish with about 20 assailants. It then exploded into a “vicious” melee with a “horde” of 50 to 100 people that “engulfed” Drakeo and his small group for “up to 10 minutes.”
“Drakeo and his group fought for their lives against insurmountable odds, shocked and horrified at the fact that no security ever materialized to intervene,” the lawsuit from lawyer Kellen Davis states.
Stinc Team members Jerome Watkins and Terrence Hackett were “mercilessly” beaten by members of the “brutal” mob in scenes caught on video, according to the filing.
“As the violence continued, several members of the mob produced knives, at which point their punches changed into lunges in attempts to stab Drakeo and plaintiffs while they desperately tried to avoid the blades,” the lawsuit claims.
“While (the plaintiffs) defended themselves bravely, the attack continued relentlessly until one of the assailants struck Drakeo in the neck with what turned out to be a fatal knife wound. Plaintiff Devante Caldwell was shoulder to shoulder with his brother and best friend Drakeo, and witnessed the blow from inches away when it was delivered,” the paperwork says.
“Plaintiffs and Drakeo continued to defend themselves and blocked more knife lunges, but Drakeo rapidly lost strength as he quickly suffered tremendous blood loss. Devante remained at his side while he deteriorated and Devante, plaintiff Calvin Webb, and others used all of their strength to try to carry Drakeo to a place of safety — tragically, there was none,” according to the lawsuit.
“When the attackers disappeared into anonymity, as no security stopped them and their identities were never verified, plaintiffs’ full attention went to trying to save Drakeo. Devante and others, seriously injured themselves, scrambled to place pressure on the wound, using their own hands and clothing, but the wound was too severe, and the blood kept rushing out. Drakeo eventually lost consciousness before their eyes,” the lawsuit alleges.
“Because of the chaos and lack of adequate safety measures, it took up to 30 minutes for emergency personnel to reach Drakeo as he clung to life while his brother and friends were helpless to alleviate his suffering,” it says.
The new lawsuit follows after a wrongful death complaint was filed against Live Nation and the other promoters on behalf of Drakeo’s only child, a 5-year-old son.
Both lawsuits allege Live Nation and the other promoters failed to protect Drakeo even though they knew their event was taking place in an area “rife with gang activity.”
Reps for Live Nation did not immediately respond to Rolling Stone‘s request for comment. In a statement shortly after Drakeo’s death, a spokesperson for the festival said, “Once Upon a Time in LA 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.”
Drakeo was laid to rest after an emotional funeral at a packed church in Lynwood, Calif., last week. His brother Devante, who raps under the name Ralfy The Plug, spoke to Rolling Stone about his loss, calling his slain brother his “role model.”
“He made sure I knew the best of everything. He made me start rapping. He was getting so much money and made it look so easy,” he said shortly before Drakeo’s platinum casket was interred in a wall at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in the Hollywood Hills.