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Florida man arrested for playing Star Spangled Banner on 4th of July rejects plea deal (Update)

Florida man arrested for playing Star Spangled Banner on 4th of July rejects plea deal (Update)

Lane Pittman “was simply celebrating his freedoms as an American by playing one hell of a version of the National Anthem on Independence Day.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QuEGn8Cn6ms

On July 4, 2015, 22 year-old Lane Pittman decided to take his electric guitar and play the Star Spangled Banner on the street outside his friend’s house in Neptune Beach, near Jacksonville.

Pittman says that after a police officer asked him to stop, he asked if it was okay to play on the sidewalk, and was told that was okay. And play he did:

“I don’t think I ever played that song as good in my life as I did on that day. It felt right. It was an emotional roller coaster.”

The crowd topped 200 people, spilling onto the street around him:

Then Pittman was, to his surprise, arrested for breaching the peace:

Pittman said what happened next took him completely by surprise. The officers handcuffed him and drove him to the police station.

“He goes, ‘Spread your legs. Put your hands behind your back,’ and that was when I was like, ‘Oh my gosh. Is he serious? I’m getting arrested for this after I was told I could do it?'” Pittman said.

“Out of respect for the national anthem, they let them finish the National Anthem,” Neptune Beach Police Chief David Sembach said. “He was told he was going to have to stop playing. He went to the sidewalk and continued playing, and it was only after that that the crowd was getting hostile, so the only way to stop it, since he wasn’t going to stop playing, was to take him out of the location.”

This image from the video shows Pittman being approached by police just after he finished playing:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QuEGn8Cn6ms

According to local news reports, the police intended to keep Pittman in jail overnight, but ended up giving him a Notice to Appear when they realized they didn’t have a place to hold him.

The incident garnered a fair amount of social media attention at the time, with the video of Pittman playing his guitar having over 200,000 views.

The Neptune Beach Police apparently received a lot of hostile messages, leading it to issue a statement on Facebook, which reads in part:

To all interested folks –

July 10, 2015

It is of no surprise that the story of Lane Pittman has gone viral within Social Media, local news and even now national news. We totally understand, but do not agree with, the rush to judgment reaction from all corners. This case was never about someone playing the “Star Spangled Banner” – what freedom loving American would object to that? This case was about the police having the responsibility to keep roadways and sidewalks traversable and as safe as possible. From our perspective, Mr. Pittman was the catalyst of the large group of people who had gathered in the roadway and sidewalks. This prohibited or severely delayed the response of emergency personnel. If we let the guitar playing continue and something terrible happened, we would be criticized for that as well. The way it was handled, no one was hurt and no property was destroyed….

I would like to personally thank Lane Pittman for being one of the few people who did not call, email, text, or Facebook the NBPD with hate filled diatribe toward the Neptune Beach Police Department – The calls for us to “Die” were particularly interesting.

In closing, we understand that Mr. Pittman is what many people describe as a “Great Dude”. We don’t dispute that. Moving forward we wish Mr. Pittman the best of luck with his entertainment career. If you are interested in his aspirations follow him on Instagram @thebigguy904 or FaceBook @Lane Pittman for Jaxson DeVille.

Sincerely,
David Sembach, Chief of Police

[“Jaxson de Ville” is the mascot of the Jacksonville Jaguars, a position to which Pittman aspires]

Pittman appeared in court on July 27, 2015, and was offered a “diversion” plea deal, which normally involves community service after which the charges are dropped.

Pittman rejected the plea deal, and posted this message and image on Facebook:

UPDATE: just got out of court and they have decided to push back the situation to ANOTHER court date on Aug. 27th. During the time in between this, the State Attorney will decide to either file this or not. They gave me a diversion deal to where I could do a bunch of community service and the arrest goes away and I said no. To me, that is admitting guilt. I would be admitting a guilt that is nonexistent. Thank you everyone for the prayers and support! Praying God is glorified through all of this no matter what the outcome is!!

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10153007615831724&set=a.10150813585666724.407519.542376723&type=1&theater

Not everyone is thrilled with Pittman. He was accused by North Florida FOLIO Weekly author AG Gancarski of having White Skin Privilege:

You know what else is quintessentially American? Small town police reactions.

Apple pie, Mark McGwire, Tiger Woods, Union Carbide and Anthony Weiner all rolled up into a sucrose surprise in a fluffy pastry shell.

So American, and it got served up to Lane Pittman.

Pittman got a few notes in, and then a peace officer played Name That Tune.

“He said ‘if you want to go to jail then you will keep playing,” said Pittman in that same FCN dispatch. “And, I was, like, are you serious? He said you can’t play in the middle of the street. I said, can I move it back to the sidewalk?”

The art of getting to yes. Pittman, who looks like a cross between Randee of the Redwoods and Don’t Tase Me Bro, somehow thought he could negotiate with a police officer. Ask D’Angelo. Ask Devanta. Ask PINAC. Ask the Jax 19.

Clearly, Pittman doesn’t watch the news. Failing that, he clearly doesn’t get that his act isn’t nearly as cute as he thought it was.

Lane Pitmann Folio Mag White Skin Privilege

But mostly Pittman has received enormous community support. He’s being invited to repeat his guitar solo at many events:

Pittman’s lawyer, Caleb D. Rowland, would not comment directly on plea negotiations, but did confirm that the offer of diversion made in court was rejected outright by Pittman, and added:

“Mr. Pittman is committed to seeing this through trial, if necessary. He believes, and I completely agree, he did nothing illegal, and was simply celebrating his freedoms as an American by playing one hell of a version of the National Anthem on Independence Day.”

Pittman is not a likely candidate for legal trouble: “He has no criminal record, plays in his church’s band, is a high school lacrosse coach and well-known in the community.”

A motion to dismiss the charge as legally insufficient has been filed. A new court date of August 27 is scheduled, by which time the prosecution will have to decide to move forward with the Notice of Appearance, file a new criminal Information, or drop the charges.

Neither the prosecuting attorney nor the Neptune Beach Police responded as of this writing to emails asking for comment.

Legal Insurrection reader Robert Bleakney, who alerted me to this story, sums up the case this way:

Surely this case warrants a legal insurrection, as defined on your Web site! And surely citizens have a right to use the public sidewalk as an open forum to celebrate the Fourth of July….

… the just powers of the police, like those of all government officials, are derived from the consent of the governed, and thus constitutionally limited, as the people retain an unalienable right to peaceably assemble in celebration of patriotic expression on the Fourth of July.

UPDATE 7-31-2015 10:50 a.m. Eastern — I just heard back from the prosecuting attorney’s office with the following statement in response to my question whether the prosecution will move forward with charges:

“The case is being reviewed.”

UPDATE 8-1-2015 — Legal Insurrection’s coverage is being picked up and getting the message out, including at The Blaze, BroBible and Fox and Friends:

http://insider.foxnews.com/2015/07/31/guitarist-wont-take-plea-deal-charges-stemming-national-anthem-performance

Fox News video:

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Comments

stevewhitemd | July 30, 2015 at 8:45 am

I can imagine that a hostile crowd could block a street. I can imagine that 200 non-hostile people could potentially block a street.

Is there any evidence that 200 people blocked the street? Any evidence that any significant number of them failed to move off the street when asked to do so by the police? Any evidence that “emergency personnel” would in fact have had trouble getting through if necessary?

Sorry to sound suspicious about official police statements, I guess it’s been beaten into me the last few years.

    As well you SHOULD be suspicious of the police statements. If the local DA had one brain cell, he or she would have dismissed this outright rather than suffer the bad press which is going to get dumped on the local District Attorney’s head.

    This is the kind of thing that gets brought up in election campaigns. That the District Attorney “wasted resources” prosecuting a man playing the national anthem while ON THE SIDEWALK because it attracted a crowd who wanted to listen.

    GunnyZ in reply to stevewhitemd. | July 30, 2015 at 12:06 pm

    if people are breaking the law by hanging out in the streets then deal with those people, don’t arrest a guitarist. The police around the beaches are well known for their heavy handed methods. I’m definitely a rule of law kind of guy but I also don’t doubt in the least that they overreacted.

    DaveGinOly in reply to stevewhitemd. | July 30, 2015 at 3:01 pm

    I wonder what is was that the police found “hostile.” The singing of the national anthem? Or maybe the segue into “Stranglehold,” a sexist song by someone who is a known racist, Rebel flag-loving, Bambi-killing, gun-toting, right-wing nutjob (/s)? Just before the arrest, one of the young men near the camera says, “The cops are helping us out, they’re blocking traffic.” His comment certainly doesn’t reflect any of the crowd’s “hostility.” Silly boy, he thought the police were there to help!

    Paul In Sweden in reply to stevewhitemd. | July 30, 2015 at 4:45 pm

    When the youtube video came out my comments on social media were that this looked like a flash mob and my comments were along these lines. The intersection was clearly blocked and on the video that I viewed, off on the left there were two emergency vehicles with flashing lights brought to a standstill surrounded by beer drinking cheering celebrants for the duration of the video.

    If I lived there and needed to bring my kid to the hospital because he blew his fingers apart with fireworks I would be hard pressed to do so as would an ambulance have great difficulty to get to my house. The next day I would probably also be pissed off at all the empty beer cans, bottles and plastic cups, puke left behind aside from the most probable pissing in the yards and bushes.

    So the kid cause the spontaneous gathering of more than 200 people(it looked like a lot more than that in the video that I saw), causing the blockage of all traffic and the infringed on pursuit of happiness of others not involved or wishing to participate in this spontaneous(flash) mob activity.

    Yes, the kid played well.

    So, the kid could say yes, I created a situation that had the potential for danger but I played the Star Spangled Banner.

    or the Kid can say yes, I was drag racing up and down the street BUT I BLASTED THE STAR SPANGLED BANNER on my massive car stereo speakers.

    or the Kid can say yes, I mugged that guy on the 4th of July but I was singing THE STAR SPANGLED BANNER the whole time.

    The Star Spangled banner is a great song but it does not absolve you of your sins.

Fools! Don’t you know that everything that is not permitted and licensed (for a fee) by the government is prohibited?

The America famed in song and story is dead. One only needs to look at the current headlines to realize that.

“Don’t let it be forgot
That once there was a spot
For one brief, shining moment…”

“From our perspective, Mr. Pittman was the catalyst of the large group of people who had gathered in the roadway and sidewalks. This prohibited or severely delayed the response of emergency personnel.”
__________________________

Really? Whenever I’ve seen large groups of people standing in the road like this, and an ambulance or fire truck or some other emergency vehicle with it’s siren on approaches, the people quickly move off the street to get out of the way. Why did the police just assume that wouldn’t happen here? This wasn’t an angry or violent mob, it was just a group of people enjoying listening to some patriotic music on a national holiday.

I understand that the police need to maintain order, but they also need to exercise some common sense when dealing with situations like this one.

    Common sense has been bred out of people. It started in the 60’s and progressed as they got their hands on the “public school” students. Have you talked to a recent graduate of a public school? Way too many of them haven’t got enough sense to get out of the rain. Our future leaders, Jesus wept.

    MarlaHughes in reply to Observer. | July 30, 2015 at 8:04 pm

    The people DIDN’T move out of the way. The cop cars had to park outside the crowd area. The crowd was much larger than the young man portrayed AND he played much more than a ‘few seconds’ of his second song. They let him finish the SSB but then it looked like he was going to morph it into a full concert. And, according to his statements about why he went to his friend’s house, intended to do so.

Interesting:

A crowd of 200 (mostly) White people were attracted to a (loud) electric guitar musician playing “The Star Spangled Banner”. The musician is arrested.

In contrast, a crowd of 200 urban thugs can go on a rampage and destroy property, threaten people, fight each other, etc. But few (if any) arrests are made and those that do occur become the basis for another set of riots.

Am I missing something?

    rinardman in reply to SeniorD. | July 30, 2015 at 9:41 am

    White privilege?

    Of COURSE you’re missing something:

    The difference is that the white crowd won’t riot continuously for weeks and weeks at a time, and then the city leaders won’t be able to come out and a.) demand disaster funding from FEMA, and b.) claim that the rage of the youts is due to the inherent, structural racism that those youts experience every day and therefore the city needs the government tit to be pointed in their direction, bringing in money for “training” and “community development” (which ends up being payoffs to Union Thugs, Corporate “training” programs and Government bureaucrats who “administer” the system).

Only black people can gather legally in the streets. They can also throw rocks, bottles, shoot and knife people and they are exercising their constitutional rights. Anyone else doing that gets hauled in for inciting a riot

Midwest Rhino | July 30, 2015 at 10:00 am

Do they deny telling him he could play on the sidewalk? Body cams would have revealed that as evidence. Instead of arresting him after the song, could they not have told him he has to stop now, or they will arrest him?

And they let him finish the anthem “out of respect”, so there was no real safety issue at that point or that decision would be wrong. The cops allowed him to do that for which they arrested him.

Give “them” room to destroy, but arrest “white privilege” guy for obeying police and playing on the sidewalk … playing the national anthem on the fourth. How dare he … this “jingoism” must be squelched immediately. There must be more to the story, but was he more resistant than it appears, or did a leftist make the call from above?

This is about mobs and crowds. A mob is violent and belligerent. These people were peaceful and respectful. The very behavior and attitude a civilized society would want to foster.

Dear David Sembach, Chief of Police,

You are a fucking idiot.

Forget emergency traffic. How about ordinary people trying to go about their lawful business. Streets, including sidewalks, are for transit, not for concerts. I do not believe there is any right to block a sidewalk and inconvenience people who want to use it for its intended purpose: getting from A to B. If you want to hold an impromptu concert, do it on private property, or in a park or something.

    Barry in reply to Milhouse. | July 30, 2015 at 11:10 am

    Pathetic. He could have stepped into the “private” yard just on the other side of the sidewalk. It would not stop the 4th of July gathering.

    get a life. there was no problem here. Other than a “police” problem with stupid.

      Milhouse in reply to Barry. | July 30, 2015 at 11:15 am

      If he could have stepped into a private yard, why didn’t he? Why do you think he had a right to block the street?

        “He” didn’t block the street.

        If some of the people listening to him did, feel free to take it up with them.

        Furthermore, during public events (like 4th of July festivities) there tend to be crowds wandering in a lot of places, including on/across the streets. The people were probably already milling around along the streets before Pittman strummed his guitar, it’s not like he sent out advance invitations which said, “free concert at 2pm, gather in the street in anticipation”.

          Milhouse in reply to Ichneumon. | July 30, 2015 at 2:09 pm

          The key word there is “wandering”. In other words, walking, which is what the streets are for. Not loitering in one place blocking traffic. He is the one who created the blockage, by using a public street as a concert hall. He attracted the crowd, so he’s responsible for the result.

        Barry in reply to Milhouse. | July 30, 2015 at 1:38 pm

        Milhouse, I don’t believe you are that stupid, so I’ll just assume you make stuff up for fun.

        Radegunda in reply to Milhouse. | July 30, 2015 at 3:51 pm

        I’ve been in public spaces many times when crowds watching some spectacle slowed my progress from Point A to Point B, on sidewalks and other walkways — but the performers were not arrested for the crime of drawing attention and entertaining people.

        Voyager in reply to Milhouse. | August 1, 2015 at 2:25 pm

        You are missing the most important point, according to his story, when the police told him he was blocking the street, he moved, and asked if he could continue it at a different, non-blocking location.

        The police said yes, then arrested him after he, to the best of his knowledge, had obeyed their instructions.

        *That* is the real problem here.

    DaveGinOly in reply to Milhouse. | July 30, 2015 at 3:31 pm

    Unless, of course, you pays your money to the state and gets you your permit to do exactly the same thing. So long as permission is granted for the payment of a fee to the state, it’s OK. And if the street fair is sponsored by government, its OK to snarl traffic and block streets to emergency vehicles. Ask the police to clear the road (that you travel down every day) of people and vendors’ kiosks and trailers, so you can proceed, and they’ll laugh at you. Insist, and they’d probably arrest you. The tail now wags the dog in this country, and that’s not what the Founders intended.

    InEssence in reply to Milhouse. | July 30, 2015 at 8:51 pm

    Sidewalks have many non-moving things. Did you ever hear of a “sidewalk sale”? If two people stop to talk on a sidewalk, should they be charged with “impeding traffic”? Where do you find a law that says that you can not stop on a sidewalk?

July 4th is a special day.
People celebrate.
You EXPECT to find certain level of disturbance of the order.

This case should have never become an issue. It only did because of the extremely poor judgement of the officers. Now the case continues because there has been additions: the very poor judgement of DA and judge.

I wish they would also arrest those musicians who come on to a train and inflict a concert on a literally captive audience who did not sign up for it.

    Barry in reply to Milhouse. | July 30, 2015 at 11:11 am

    I suppose they should also arrest people talking too loudly for you.

    Nice police state you’re creating here.

      Milhouse in reply to Barry. | July 30, 2015 at 11:18 am

      Ordinary conversation is legal on trains. Playing musical instruments is not, and people who do so should be arrested. And yes, people who shout at the top of their lungs on public transport, and won’t shut up when told to do so, should be arrested too; they are interfering with all the passengers’ right to ride in peace.

        Barry in reply to Milhouse. | July 30, 2015 at 1:40 pm

        Bullshit. I did not say “shouting”. I said talking loudly.

          Milhouse in reply to Barry. | July 30, 2015 at 2:12 pm

          You’re the one who brought them up in the first place. How am I supposed to know how loud you meant? In any case, what have they got to do with musicians, who certainly have no right to inflict their noise on a captive audience?

          Barry in reply to Barry. | July 30, 2015 at 3:52 pm

          “You’re the one who brought them up in the first place.”

          BS, you created this strawman.

          “How am I supposed to know how loud you meant?”

          Learn to lead English, “talking loudly” is a description not like “shouting at the top of their lungs”

          “who certainly have no right to inflict their noise on a captive audience?”

          The sidewalk musician did not have a captive audience.

        Obie1 in reply to Milhouse. | July 30, 2015 at 3:55 pm

        “Right to ride in peace.” Hmm, I’m going to have to look that one up in my pocket Constitution.

      Inside an alarming number of self-professed “conservatives,” there’s a teeny weeny little fascist authoritarian just itching to come out.

        Henry Hawkins in reply to Amy in FL. | July 30, 2015 at 1:55 pm

        lol, that’s our Milhouse.

        Milhouse in reply to Amy in FL. | July 30, 2015 at 2:14 pm

        I’m a libertarian, not a fascist. You’re the one who apparently thinks people don’t have the right to be left alone to ride a train in peace.

          DaveGinOly in reply to Milhouse. | July 30, 2015 at 2:42 pm

          Over the years I’ve met hundreds of libertarians, and account myself one as well (although I qualify it as “constitutional libertarian”). I never heard one of them express the idea that playing musical instruments in public should be prohibited. Your brand of libertarianism is strange indeed.

          TtT in reply to Milhouse. | July 30, 2015 at 3:19 pm

          You’re not a libertarian. Your whining and crying and intolerance clearly show that. You’re closer to being an outright moron.

          Radegunda in reply to Milhouse. | July 30, 2015 at 3:56 pm

          Where is it written that you have the right to be shielded from any annoyance in public spaces? If you want to be left alone in peace, stay home.

          Radegunda in reply to Milhouse. | July 30, 2015 at 4:06 pm

          I’m annoyed by the people who try to stop me on the sidewalk and get me to sign a petition (and then, when I ignore them, they say “Have a nice day” in that guilt-trippy way that implies “So you must be in favor of bullying in school, then”).

          I’m also annoyed when the same people hang around the same corners year after year, begging for money every time I go past, and I’m annoyed that one panhandler almost always tries to soften me up by complimenting me on my outfit (although I do dress pretty well).

          But I don’t think that all such annoyances in public spaces should be prohibited by force.

          tom swift in reply to Milhouse. | July 30, 2015 at 4:35 pm

          I’m a libertarian

          Evidently not.

          Paul In Sweden in reply to Milhouse. | July 30, 2015 at 5:00 pm

          Too many commenters here confuse anarchists with libertarians.

          Milhouse, you want to bring the full force of the State against people who talk too loudly on trains. You are not a libertarian’s toenail. You are an authoritarian, a statist.

        socialismisevil in reply to Amy in FL. | August 7, 2015 at 11:35 pm

        In leftists their self hate and racism is always apparent

        and YOU would be better off if YOU LEARNED THAT

        COMMUNISM SOCIALISM AND FAS CISM ARE ON THE SAME

        PHILOSOPHICAL ASILE

        They believe that the government should control business and that the elites should control the people

        true conservatives are for small government

        RE THINK TIME FOR YOU!!!

    DaveGinOly in reply to Milhouse. | July 30, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    It’s called “public performance art.” When it’s not sponsored by the state, its called “freedom of expression.” When the musicians are busking, it’s called “the right to earn a living.” God, if you had it your way the only street performers allowed would be mimes, and everyone hates mimes.

      Paul In Sweden in reply to DaveGinOly. | July 30, 2015 at 5:06 pm

      Well at least a mime would not be able to claim BUT I was singing The Star Spangled Banner as the absurd excuse to justify blocking traffic.

    Skookum in reply to Milhouse. | July 31, 2015 at 2:34 am

    Milhouse,

    What trains are you boarding tomorrow, time and place? I will bring my flutophone and serenade you? Any requests so I can prepare?

I suppose we should be thankful the cops didn’t shoot him claiming he was armed with a life threatening guitar and they feared for their lives.

    Quite so. A guitar is at least as dangerous a deadly weapon as a walking cane or a cell phone.

      Ragspierre in reply to Amy in FL. | July 30, 2015 at 1:41 pm

      Absolutely right.

      Just like bare hands and feet are deadly weapons when so employed.

      I can kill you very effectively with a ball-point pen.

      Poor Amy.

        DaveGinOly in reply to Ragspierre. | July 30, 2015 at 2:50 pm

        Rags, what is up with you lately? I used to come to this site looking forward to reading your latest incisive and/or witty comment. Lately you’ve been rude, reduced to name-calling, and now threatening. (“I can kill you very effectively with a ball-point pen.” Which could have been effectively rendered as “A ball-point pen is also an effective killing instrument,” without the sense of threat.) Have something going on in your life that’s causing this? If so, take a break and come back when you’re the old Rags so I can once again look forward to reading your posts.

          Ragspierre in reply to DaveGinOly. | July 30, 2015 at 3:51 pm

          ZOOOOMG…!!!

          NOW I’m going to get edited by a “trigger warning” panzy…???

          Just spare me.

          If Amy felt “threatened”, she can report me.

          Barry in reply to DaveGinOly. | July 30, 2015 at 3:55 pm

          DGO, are you that stupid? rags is just saying that about anything, including a “ball point pen”, can be used as a weapon.

          Some people just love to be offended.

          You can be injured by a bamboo knitting needle. I know because I was stabbed by one!!

          Also, a humble sewing needle can also be a deadly killer. If, as a foreign object it has entered the body via the foot and then enters into the blood stream it can reach the heart and kill. On the other hand, if this humble needle enters the body via a knee, it can cause infection, but is less likely to enter the blood stream. I know because I had one in my knee for 6 weeks!!

          Rudeness is a weak man’s imitation of strength. Rudeness is apparently all Rags has got these days. Bless his heart.

        Ragspierre in reply to Ragspierre. | July 30, 2015 at 6:12 pm

        How was agreeing with you “rude”, Amy?

        Or was it that you’ve lost all rational thought?

      Skookum in reply to Amy in FL. | July 31, 2015 at 2:37 am

      I learned that a guitar makes a great crime-fighting weapon from watching El Kabong cartoons as a kid.

    DaveGinOly in reply to faboutlaws. | July 30, 2015 at 2:34 pm

    The individual strings make great garrotes.

I have had dealings with Chief Sembach and know him to be a super nice, personable and well respected public servant. I also have many friends in the Neptune Beach Government and know them all to be very community oriented and hard working who use common sense in every day matters that require quick thinking and decision making with little time available to think too deeply.
I also know this area where Lane was arrested and every fourth of July this area is so conjested from morning until night that arresting Lane Pittman was strictly an overuse of power by the police officers involved. From looking at the photographs of the police on the scene, I can tell you that they weren’t simply concerned about keeping the streets clear and safe and moving the crowd along. These are the cops who are most likely to shoot an innocent suspect because they are more concerned with being the source of power on the scene and become offended when and if anyone or anything challenges. Good cops are not so caught up in their own power trips that thay can’t listen to an opposing side and use good common sense to decide on a best course of action for all. The cops in this video are the ones who who believe they have the final word and how dare anyone challenge them.
Sorry Chief Semmbach, but the arrest of Lane Pittman was inexcuseable. Especially given the sheer numbers of people in the street on that date every year.

Hostile crowd? Were they “hostile” before or after the police arrived to arrest him?

    DaveGinOly in reply to Sanddog. | July 30, 2015 at 2:32 pm

    My question too. These people were almost certainly neighbors, meaning that they belonged where they were gathering (it was a holiday, after all – it’s what Americans do on the 4th). If the police had a concern about emergency vehicle access, all they had to do was ask the crowd to stay out of the street, or, failing that, remind them to stay out of the way of any traffic using the road. For crise sake, when I was a kid we used to play in the street. Whenever a car approached we just got out of the road and allowed it to pass. We didn’t need the police to tell us that. Most civilized people would get out of the way of emergency vehicles trying to help someone in their own neighborhood.

If they’d shot him in the head, would the usual suspects here have defended the police? What happened to the usual “comply or die” rule?

    Ragspierre in reply to Amy in FL. | July 30, 2015 at 1:01 pm

    Poor, kinked Amy…

    Barry in reply to Amy in FL. | July 30, 2015 at 1:42 pm

    Amy, try real hard not to be stupid.

    Sanddog in reply to Amy in FL. | July 30, 2015 at 4:06 pm

    I wasn’t aware there was a “comply or die” rule. I have stated on various occasions however that if you use or attempt to use a deadly weapon against the police, well… whatever happens, you had it coming.

      donb in reply to Sanddog. | July 30, 2015 at 11:28 pm

      A guitar is a deadly weapon (see discussions above).

        Sanddog in reply to donb. | July 31, 2015 at 3:35 am

        I’m pretty sure it wasn’t “brandished” against the cops.

          Neither were the various cellphones and wallets that citizens have been shot for, all because police “feared for their lives.”

          Barry in reply to Sanddog. | July 31, 2015 at 1:09 pm

          Amy, those, cellphones/wallets are mistakes. Accidents born of a culture that very often does pull a gun and shoot. They should not happen. If you are going to have police, you will also have accidental shootings by the police. It will never be perfection. Those examples are a far cry from any outright murder.

Only Blacks and Islamist terrorists have the privilege to block street, sidewalks and parks.

    If Pittman had been black, these officers would still have arrested him. This is not Baltimore.

      Not sure why that scored so many down-votes. Police around here really do pretty much treat everyone the same. These particular guys would have come down just as hard on a black kid doing this as they did on young Lane. Like I said – this is not Baltimore, or Ferguson. Hard-ass police or sheriffs are generally very equal opportunity hard-asses around here. And the reasonable ones, which really are the majority, are generally pretty reasonable to everyone.

Henry Hawkins | July 30, 2015 at 1:57 pm

Officer, it’s the 4th of July fer crissakes and he’s playing the Star Spangled Banner for a small crowd.

Very strange, but in a way not surprising. Some years ago I lost the ability to understand things that go on in this country. Now we have rioters destroying things with impunity, police and civilians charged with murder in what clearly are self-defense cases, a male athlete applauded for turning himself into a woman, a Supreme Court that says we all misunderstood marriage for the last 5,000 years, “zero tolerance” of school kids doing most anything, gay “pride” parades consisting of men walking down the street in jock straps, etc., etc. And now a guitarist arrested for a two-minute impromptu performance on a national day of celebration. Sure, why not? Makes as much sense as anything else.

    Exiliado in reply to siguiriya. | July 30, 2015 at 2:28 pm

    “Fundamentally transforming” America.

    MarlaHughes in reply to siguiriya. | July 30, 2015 at 8:07 pm

    It wasn’t impromptu. He went to his friend’s house to have a concert. The Star Spangled Banner was to get the party started. He seems like a nice kid. However, he still has to follow the law, two of which he broke. The police department offered him a compromise due to his stated misunderstanding of the officer’s statement to him. He should have taken it. He’s made too many public statements that he perhaps does not realize contradict either the videotape or other statements he’s made. Again, he’s likely a cool kid, just overzealous about his ‘rights’ over anyone else’s.

      Barry in reply to MarlaHughes. | July 30, 2015 at 9:41 pm

      Okay I’ll bite;

      “he still has to follow the law, two of which he broke”

      He was charged with disturbing the peace if the news article is correct. He has not been convicted of course, nor will he be, IMO. So, what two laws did he break?

      “He’s made too many public statements that he perhaps does not realize contradict either the videotape or other statements he’s made.”

      Nothing in the reporting indicates any such thing. Can you provide any citation of this?

Henry Hawkins | July 30, 2015 at 3:28 pm

I just took my Martin 6 string outside and ripped off a cover of My Country Tis Of Thee. I’m like an anarchist, a crazy guy, a Milhousian fascist libertarian. I’m a rebel. C’mon, coppers, I dares ya.

He killed it. The cops probably launched this kid’s career with their heavy handed BS.

so glad I live in rural area. police would not care here.they would prob enjoy it and make sure nothing bad happened.

The fool.
Anybody knows you cannot be White, Pro-life, Conservative, Patriotic, Pro 1st or second amendment… er any the rest these days…
Or off to jail you go.
I will see if I can figure out how to send him a buck or two.

Anyone who uses the term ‘White privilege’ is automatically an idiot. Let me as a question – Obama is 50% black and 50% white. Which half gave him his privilege? Think about it. From college admission to the Presidency. It wasn’t his white half.

    Skookum in reply to mouell. | August 4, 2015 at 3:11 pm

    It’s not his white half that is enlisting support to cover up his incompetence and corruption. It’s not his white half that will build the Obama Memorial in Washington some day.

    socialismisevil in reply to mouell. | August 7, 2015 at 11:32 pm

    Black PRIVILEGE IS also a reality ( if we accept that white privilege is)

    but the FEAR that runs through our society is actually a

    DISRESPECT TOWARDS BLACK PEOPLE BY NOT TREATING THEM AS EQUALS

    ESPECIALLY WHEN the situation is not a friendly one

    Its ok , white lefty racists

    Blacks can handle the truth

    stop treating blacks like babies

Freddie Sykes | August 4, 2015 at 12:56 pm

If the young man had taken that occasion to burn an American Flag, would the police have arrested him for similar charges?

I think not because that would have been deemed a protected expression of free speech. Show respect to the flag on the other hand is incitement to riot.

socialismisevil | August 7, 2015 at 11:29 pm

THOUSANDS WERE GIVEN

“ROOM TO DESTROY”

by the Baltimore mayor during another criminal created incident

AND HERE WE HAVE JUST A NICE MOMENT IN TIME …RUINED

Yes, his playing caused people to come into the streets to listen to the SSB ON JULY 4TH NO LESS

THE POLICE MUST BE RESPECTED

RESPECT IS EARNED

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