Skip to comments.Noise complaint at bar leads to melee - Accounts differ (officer tasered crowd/band at concert)
Posted on 10/16/2006 2:14:51 PM PDT by weegee
Noise complaint at bar leads to melee Accounts differ of incident where an officer says he was forced to use a Taser on patrons
By ANNE MARIE KILDAY and PAIGE HEWITT
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.
Exactly how and why it all started depends on whom you ask.
Officer G.M. Rodriguez approached management about the noise complaint, filed by a neighbor, and the volume was turned down but that as the officer was leaving, the volume went back up, said HPD's Sgt. Nate McDuell. He said Rodriguez then went on stage and approached guitar player Adam Stephens, one of two members in the laid-back country rock band, the Two Gallants. McDuell said Stephens, whose guitar was hanging from a neck strap, then used a sexual obscenity and shoved the officer with his shoulder. McDuell said the officer then tried to arrest Stephens for assault and forced him to the stage floor of the stage.
Stephens, a 25-year-old from San Francisco, said that is "absolutely" not what happened. 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. HPD's McDuell said several people were grabbing the officer from behind when he felt someone grab his pistol.
At some point during the incident, the officer removed a cartridge from his Taser, so that it would discharged "dry stuns," which are used for "close contact combat," McDuell said. He said the officer used the Taser three times. Meanwhile, about six patrol cars arrived at the scene.
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.
Stephens, who left the scene and was not arrested, said he was Tasered twice in the stomach and that the officer was "out of control." "He was extremely violent form the start," Stephens said. "It was frightening."
McDuell said the officer's approach was commendable and that it was fortunate that he used a Taser instead of a weapon. "An officer gets attacked by dozens of people in a club who have been drinking," McDuell said. " If anything, the officer was abused."
Pam Robinson, the owner of Walter's, said, "I wasn't here when it happened, and I don't know exactly what happened. I am sure it will all get straightened out." Robinson said she "felt comfortable" leaving early Friday night, because of the "college student" audience that had gathered to hear the three bands the Two Gallants, Langhorne Slim and the War Eagles, and the Trainwreck Riders.
Chronicle reporter Anita Hassan contributed to this report.
Houston and Rock and Roll PING
A myspace "profile" has been established to discuss this case (including video of the taser being used).
I may have to drop in, sounds like a fun place!
Outside of the police actions, yeah.
They have all sorts of bands that play their (local, national, old, new).
Only notable shows I've seen there in awhile was Blue Cheer this year. And country/rockabilly singer Sleepy LaBeef a couple years ago. The rest were local acts but the names wouldn't ring a bell.
McDuell said the officer then tried to arrest Stephens for assault and forced him to the stage floor of the stage.
Where are the editors?
"The Rodriguez [the HPD officer] then said to Adam the guitarist You need to quit playing. Adam and Tyson were still playing and in the middle of a song. Adam then responded What? Why? Rodriguez had his flashlight in his right hand and turned on his flashlight, and raised it above Adams head and flashed it in his eyes. He then got closer within 2 feet of the singer, then told Adam You need to stop playing Adam responded "F*ck no, s*ck my D*ck, Get off the stage"
Then Rodriguez grabbed Adams guitar, to which Adam jerked the guitar back, the Houston Police Officer grabbed him around the head and took him down. Tyson the drummer jumped up from the drums and jumped onto the officer. The officer dodged Tyson and pins the two bandmates down. People from the crowd get on stage and swarm up and start taking pictures, while others are trying to separate the fight."
The editor has been here form the start!
Where are we to form a start?
What're you guys, illiterates??? ;-)
We should form the start of the stage floor of the stage?
I'm not sure I understand.
You'll have to excuse the writer, he had the hots for the kid.
Sleepy LaBeef! Wow, haven't heard him in a while!
Good for a bit there I thought I was losing it.
No, I'm straight but that is for every man to choose for himself!
Whats the minor doing in the bar, aside from catching the reporters eye?
Depending on the liquor license some places allow minors.
Or maybe he was getting all hammered up like the band.
Gunner is our "man (sort of) on the scene" so we will get him to investigate.
Only as far as getting all hammered up.
Minors in clubs are on their own.
Unless they're my kids. Which they ain't.
Although one of 'em is working at it.
I'm with you. This dispute would have been resolved more simply if they'd just tasered the neighbor for felonious mopery.
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