Local Band Responds to Arrest and Taser Incident at Orchard Street Block Party

Posted on: June 23rd, 2017 at 5:03 am by

Photo: Dave Feldman

By now you’ve probably seen the footage of cops arresting two musicians during a performance on Orchard Street Thursday evening. It was an event organized by The Cast as part of the “Make Music New York” program.

During one of the evening sets, patrolling police from the 7th Precinct stopped by – apparently there was drinking outside – resulting in a tense detainment. Everyone we’ve spoken to says that an errant beer cup was the proverbial spark. An eyewitness noted that police “stormed The Cast During Beechwood’s set, put [drummer] Isa Flowers in cuffs, and placed him in a squad car.” He continued, “As the crowd began to swell around the cop cars, Beechwood’s bassist was also thrown to the ground. Police then drew taser guns at the crowd.”

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It’s still not totally clear what happened, and the flying cup could’ve been a provocation. All the same, our repeated attempts for comment from the 7th Precinct have gone unanswered.

“We had the proper permits taped to all the amps like we always do,” store owner Chuck Guarino told us. “In the years past, the cops would roll up to check to see if we have our permits, we show them, they say ok keep it cool, and they go on their way. It was an insane act of excessive force to say the least.”

Below is the account from Beechwood, the performing band whose members were arrested.

In the middle of our performance, a licensed permitted event, police drove in with their lights on and immediately an empty cup which was thrown into the crowd by someone landed on the windshield. The 2 police officers assumed that we were somehow responsible, and immediately rushed us – grabbed our instruments and violently thrusted us from the stage area. Our drummer was beaten and dragged through the crowd, handcuffed, and placed into the police car. The police then grabbed our bass player, who is about half the size of the arresting officer, and dragged him by his hair and threw him to the ground – chipping his teeth in the process. You said that one of our members was trying to escape, that is not true. You can clearly see that he is handcuffed and in the cop car – when the cop grabs by the neck and throws him headfirst into the ground out of the cop car. The police used excessive force and shouldn’t have been there in the first place.

They had no reason to be threatened – bottom line WE HAVE GUITARS, THEY HAVE GUNS. It is the common US AGAINST THEM scenario and rock & roll will always be seen as a threat to establishment. The arresting officers won’t be getting away with what they did to us.

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