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Update: Remember Florida rocker charged for playing national anthem on July 4?

Update: Remember Florida rocker charged for playing national anthem on July 4?

One year ago charges were dropped against Lane Pittman and we have an update on how he’s doing.

We cover so many stories and events that it’s hard to follow up on a lot. I have over 10,000 posts myself, and as a website we have almost 20,000 posts.

Usually it’s some external reminder (a Facebook Memories notice, a Tweet, or something similar) that triggers an update post. And that’s what happened this time, I received a Facebook Memories reminder of my August 27, 2015 post, that on one year ago charges were dropped against Lane Pittman.

Do you remember Pittman? Doesn’t ring a bell?

Pittman was the Florida rocker who was charged with disrupting the peace for playing the Star Spangled banner on July 4th in Neptune Beach, near Jacksonville, Florida man arrested for playing Star Spangled Banner on 4th of July rejects plea deal:

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.”

The video quickly gained over 300,000 views, and Pittman’s case received national media attention:

The Neptune Police received a flood of messages demanding freedom for Pittman, and felt compelled to post an explanation on Facebook, which concluded as follows:

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.


David Sembach, Chief of Police

Pittman rejected a plea deal:

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.”

The Eyes of the World were focused on the Neptune courthouse as the day of judgment approached. Pittman emerged victorious, all charges dropped, as we reported, Charges dropped against Florida man who played Star Spangled Banner on 4th of July

I just received word from Caleb Rowland, the attorney for Lane Pittman, that the charges against Pittman for playing the Star Spangled Banner on the 4th of July in Neptune Beach, Florida:

Despite the delay, Mr. Pittman is pleased the State’s Attorney’s office declined to prosecute him for expressing his patriotism and exercising his First Amendment right by playing the National Anthem on Independence Day.

…. Pittman posted the following message and Victory Selfie on Facebook:

#VictorySelfie ALL. GLORY. TO GOD. The State Attorney’s office has decided to drop all charges!!!! SO pumped!! Thank you for all the prayers, kind words, and thoughts!! It means the world!! I want to thank my attorney Caleb Rowland for all the work he did for me. Can’t even explain the way I’m feeling. God is so good!! #FREEDOM #letitringbaby #DTWD #notaconvict #TURNUP #justiceprevailed #hallelujah #igersjax #DUUUVAAALLL #faceoffreedom #redwhitenblue #13stars50bars #merica

[Lane Pittman Victory Selfie w Caleb Rowland, via Facebook]

Soon after that Pittman received numerous invitations to play the National Anthem at various events:

So whatever happened to Pittman?

I sent Pittman a Facebook message asking for an update:

Hey, you may remember I wrote a lot about your case. I just noticed it’s been one year since the charges were dropped, and I might write a follow up. Can you send me a statement either by FB message or to my email address about what has happened to you the past year, any fall out from the incident (did it help or hurt or make no difference in your career or involvement in the community), etc.?

Pittman sent me this response:

Yeah man! I’m actually in the UK right now….

It’s been one heck of a year since I got everything cleared up. God has worked some amazing stuff through it!

I’ve had numerous paying gigs for playing the Anthem all over town. It has helped me and my band KSICK book more venues because of it. And who ever gets tired of hearing freedom ring?

I think the best one was from last Oktoberfest in Jax Beach when I opened up for The Expendables. I played literally in front of thousands of people. Something I never thought would happen.

I have also been able to do last years and this years Connection Festival. So awesome. I’ve been able to share my testimony all over the place and how God can use the craziest of situations for the good of those who love Him. It’s wild.

I’m in the U.K. right now and had a kid ask me if I was that guy from YouTube while I was touring the Windsor Castle! Ahah it’s so crazy. I can’t wait to see where God takes me next!

It’s good to hear that things are working out for Pittman.

And that he hasn’t lost his flair for the dramatic, as in this video he posted on Facebook and Instagram during his visit to the UK:


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Doubleplusgood…..he played the Nuge’s “Stranglehold” at the end!

ROCK ON, dude…!!!

DieJustAsHappy | August 27, 2016 at 9:31 pm

Wonder who he’s supporting for POTUS?

and it was only after that that the crowd was getting hostile, so the only way to stop it … was to take him out of the location.

The Chief might usefully expand a bit on that weird statement. And while he’s at it he might explain how this (precautionary? protective?) move would lead to charges.

    DaveGinOly in reply to tom swift. | August 28, 2016 at 8:56 pm

    The crowd was “becoming hostile” because it sensed that something wrong was happening – Mr. Pittman’s constitutionally-protected rights were being infringed upon. The only people they need have removed from the scene were themselves. If they needed to open the road for emergencies or local traffic, they could have easily stayed on the fringes of the event and interceded as necessary.

Good for him. Always nice to see something bad (the unwarranted arrest) get turned into something good.

If the crowd is getting hostile ,arrest anyone that attacks him.

    Milhouse in reply to dunce1239. | August 28, 2016 at 12:10 am

    The crowd wasn’t geting hostile to him. It was just a drunken aggressive crowd blocking traffic and refusing to move, and his music was the reason it had gathered at that spot.

    None of this had anything to do with the nature of the song he was playing. On the contrary, the police said taht had he been playing anything else they’d have stopped him in the middle. Out of respect for the anthem they waited until it was over.

    But the underlying problem was that the policeman who’d told him he could play on the sidewalk hadn’t anticipated a serious crowd gathering to hear him. One guy playing an instrument on a sidewalk where he isn’t interfering with traffic is not a problem. 200 people gathered on the street to hear him play is a problem. 200 people who refuse to move is a serious problem.

      amatuerwrangler in reply to Milhouse. | August 28, 2016 at 1:34 am

      No. The problem is that the police didn’t know what to do with a lively crowd of celebrants on the Fourth of July. He moved onto the sidewalk as he was told. People gathered to listen… when the Anthem is finished the police should have announced that the “concert” will continue down at the park, or wherever, and everyone goes on their merry way…

      A crowd of 200 listening to a street musician does not need to be cured by arrest. Hell, over the past couple years we have watched the police in many cities — Baltimore, Ferguson, MO, San Jose, CA — stand back watch crowds, real crowds showing real hostility, for hours and even days while the crowd assaulted people, burned buildings and looted businesses….

      I’m glad the kid had the huevos to turn down plea offers and stand firm. I’m sure that his attorney, more than once, asked the prosecutor where he was going to find a jury who would convict with this fact set…

      Barry in reply to Milhouse. | August 28, 2016 at 1:54 am

      You were wrong then and you’re still wrong.

      Charges were dropped, should never have occurred.

      JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Milhouse. | August 28, 2016 at 1:36 pm

      As usual, you don’t know what you’re talking about. Get back to your bingo and tapioca pudding.

      DaveGinOly in reply to Milhouse. | August 28, 2016 at 9:01 pm

      What about freedom of assembly? I remember the videos. The police did ask the crowd to get out of the road, but that was unnecessary. The fact is there were no emergency vehicles requiring access to the neighborhood. (And was that the only, or even most likely, road by which they might enter?) Police could have cleared the road if and when necessary, instead of interrupting people who were doing nothing but celebrating a government-recognized day of celebration. There would not have been a problem if they had a permit to block the road for a neighborhood party, which would have blocked the road just as completely. The real problem is that so many of our rights have been converted to privileges dispensed by the state and the police are used as enforcers of this subjugation.

If Pittman were only arrested to disperse the crowd, the PD would (or should) have dropped the charges the next day.

JackRussellTerrierist | August 28, 2016 at 1:30 pm

It almost sounds like the chief was trying to help Pittman.

Rock on, dude!! 🙂

    amatuerwrangler in reply to JackRussellTerrierist. | August 28, 2016 at 8:44 pm

    I’m afraid that the Chief was trying to do some damage control. Over the past several years I have been consistently amazed at what passes as “due process” in Florida. If, upper case “IF”, actual arrest was called for, it sounds like Mr. Pittman, had this happened in CA, would have been released on a field citation for the misdemeanor offense. Even so, how is it the police forwarded the case for prosecution, and what was the prosecutor thinking when they actually filed criminal charges, making it necessary for Mr. Pittman to break his piggy bank and lawyer-up.

    I’m hoping the Chief has had a one-on-one with the arresting officer so that the department does not have to deal with this kind of image damage again.