A member of U2's personal security detail was assaulted Tuesday night by a member of the Mexican presidential guard during the first of the band's two Mexico City shows. Jerry Meltzer, bassist Adam Clayton's security guard, was knocked down and pistol-whipped into unconsciousness by a bodyguard in the entourage of Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo's teenage son, Emiliano, according to a source who works with the band.
"This person [Emiliano Zedillo] was trying to get into a restricted backstage area that was unsafe," said the source. "It was near a video crane and the production area that had wires running through it and no one who wasn't on the crew was supposed to be there. He was stopped by a couple of [U2 crew members]. The two guys who stopped him were roughed up by one of the bodyguards."
Meltzer, seeing the scuffle, ran over to help, had a gun drawn on him and was then "cracked over the skull," according to the source, which resulted in Meltzer's being knocked unconscious and rushed to a local hospital to receive five stitches.
A statement released Wednesday by the band said that U2 manager Paul McGuinness had met with Mexico City district attorney Lorenzo Thomas Wednesday morning. In this meeting, Thomas "informed him that investigations into this unfortunate incident would be held and the appropriate sanctions made."
Thomas could not be reached for comment by press time on Friday.
U2 played two shows at the Foro Sol stadium to approximately 50,000 people a night. Wednesday night's show was broadcast live on MTV (which aired the first 45 minutes) and Showtime (which presented the concert in its entirety). Meltzer left the tour and returned home the following day.
President Zedillo's spokesman, Fernando Lerdo, gave a different version of events according to a report in Friday's New York Post. Lerdo was quoted as saying the confrontation was a result of a mix-up. "The venue's security told Emiliano's team they could use a special exit after the show," Lerdo told the Post. "However, they didn't coordinate it with the band's security. When they tried to leave, they were roughly stopped by the band's men." [Fri., Dec. 5, 1997, 6 p. m. PST]