October 24, 2006

Cops crash a country show at Walter's

From the Houston Chronicle:

A Houston police officer responding to a noise complaint Friday night at Walter's, a popular music venue on Washington Avenue, discharged his Taser at least three times when a melee ensued after he told a guitar player to turn down the volume.


[Sgt. Nate] McDuell said [Adam] Stephens, whose guitar was hanging from a neck strap, then used a sexual obscenity and shoved the officer with his shoulder.


Stephens said he was sideways and singing on the stage just before he turned around and saw the officer, who then shined a flashlight at him and said, "Stop."

Stephens, who denied shoving the officer, said he responded, "Why?"

He said the officer moved closer to him and yelled, "Stop!"

Stephens said he again asked why and that the officer then grabbed him by the neck and forced him to the floor.

Accounts vary, but apparently several people then charged the stage, there was a lot of pushing and shoving, and the officer called for backup.


[G.M.] Rodriguez suffered bruises and cuts on his arms, at least four people were arrested, a valuable bass was broken. A tall, slender 14-year-old with shoulder-length hair was Tasered, and a University of Houston sociology student doing a "field paper on the music scene" also was Tasered.


I heard about this from my girlfriend a few days ago, but it was second hand from a Hot Topic employee so I wasn't sure if it was true (because that store's specialty is fabrication).

What suprises me the most is that these bands got the cops called on it. WAAAY louder bands have played at Walter's before, like The Casualties for example, who are actually coming back to Walter's this Friday, and I think Youth Brigade played sometime last week.

There's no question that this cop was an asshole and was completely out of line. So I'm not going to discuss that.

My theory as to why the cops targeted Walter's is that they were actually called about an earlier, louder show, the kind that Walter's has more often than these "laid back country" shows. It must have been just a slow night for this cop and he happened to drive by Walter's and recognized the name of the place and heard some noise. Hell, the neighbor who called the cops probably does so every single night! So this Rodriguez character decides he's actually going to humor the neighbors tonight and show up.

I can imagine how confusing it would be for a cop to be so pissed off about some laid back folk rock show.

Here's how it plays out in my head: you're up on the stage playing your guitar, the bright stage lights make it difficult to see anyone in the crowd, you seem to be ignoring the cop because you CAN'T FUCKING SEE HIM, so he gets up on the stage and approaches you; if you're facing away from the crowd (to the side in this case), you probably can't see him even after he comes up onto the stage so you accidentally run into him as you turn back to face the crowd.

Basically, if Stephens really did run into that cop first, it was quite likely just an accident, and this cop flipped out.

I've been planning on booking a show out at Walter's for my loud, rowdy punk rock band, The Drafted. Luck for us, Houston cops would rather raid the mellow college crowd!

No comments: