Tulare brothers file civil rights lawsuit against city, accuse officials of sabotaging Mexican music festival

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The 2017 Pueblofest at the World Ag Expo was intended to be similar to the Coachella Music Festival in Indio. Only the crowds they hoped would be around 100,000 turned out to be just 30,000 over three days.

Esau and Euler Torres believe they know what's behind the backlash.

"We feel that it was because you know, our music and kind of what they think our music represents," Esau Torres said.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday, accuses the city's building department of exercising excessive red tape. It also notes during the event an excessive number of police officers were present.

Euler Torres said restrictions above and beyond the normal customary requirements were also imposed.

"And we were always threatened, if you don't file permits, you'll be shut down, everything was if you don't do this, you'll be shut down," he said. "Prepay, shut down. No event prepays everything; we were forced."

The brothers also claim officials refused to let them sell tickets at the door on the days of the event which also affected the attendance.

Tulare City officials issued a statement saying in part, "the plaintiffs give no explanation as to why, after working over a decade together, staff became racially motivated and conspired against them or this event as alleged."

Emilio Huerta is representing the Torres brothers. We asked him what evidence he has to prove the event was labeled a cartel or gang event.

"We have indications from city personnel based upon comments and statements, powerpoint presentations that the city actually presented this event as a cartel event to the city council and city staff," Huerta said.

The plaintiffs also claim other events held at the World Ag Expo that serve a more Anglo audience are not burdened with the same restrictions as they were two years ago.

The event was intended to be an annual event but turned out to be a one time concert.
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