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Radiohead Call Verdict on Drum Technician’s Death “Frustratingly Insufficient”

The Ontario chief coroner delivered a report yesterday on the 2012 stage collapse that killed Radiohead drum technician Scott Johnson. The report ruled Johnson’s death accidental and submitted 28 recommendations for improving temporary venue safety regulations. Radiohead have now responded to the report in a statement that commends the recommendations but calls the verdict “frustratingly insufficient.”

“A verdict of Accidental Death was returned, which feels frustratingly insufficient given that the stage collapse was shown to be preventable,” the band wrote. “The Jury have made sound and practical recommendations to prevent such an accident happening again and to ensure the future safety of show crews and audiences. It’s up to all of us now to make sure that these recommendations are implemented.”

Testimony heard by the inquest’s five-member panel revealed that the staging company Optex Staging believed for years that its stage’s design plan was flawed, that the scaffolding crew assembled Radiohead’s stage without necessary pieces of equipment, and that the show’s promoter Live Nation did not obtain a construction permit for the temporary venue. Criminal charges against Live Nation, Optex Staging, and engineer Domenic Cugliari were stayed in 2017 on a technicality.

Read Radiohead’s full statement below.

The Inquest into the death of our friend and crew member, Scott Johnson, has now concluded. The Inquest itself was conducted in a constructive, thorough and fair-minded way. It revealed the negligence and failings that led to Scott’s death.

A verdict of Accidental Death was returned, which feels frustratingly insufficient given that the stage collapse was shown to be preventable. The Jury have made sound and practical recommendations to prevent such an accident happening again and to ensure the future safety of show crews and audiences. It’s up to all of us now to make sure that these recommendations are implemented.

We’d like to express our gratitude to the Coroner’s Office and the Jury for their tireless work in the Inquest. Our love and respect go out to Ken and Sue Johnson, Scott’s parents. He will be forever in our thoughts.

Tags: radiohead