Police and Musicians Clash on Lower Broad



Three individuals were arrested late Thursday night on Lower Broad shortly after 2 a.m., one of whom — Matthew Paige of The Blackfoot Gypsies, who'd just finished sitting in with the house band at Layla’s Bluegrass Inn — was charged with vandalism and resisting arrest after bumping into a police cruiser with his amplifier. According to multiple eyewitness accounts, Gaelen Mitchell — a fellow musician who was present during the incident — was shoved to the ground by an officer. You can see portion of the incident (including Mitchell being pushed to the sidewalk) in the footage above, which was shot by Jeffrey Marcom. Marcom and Mitchell were also subsequently arrested.

After Paige's set, his girlfriend Kim Logan double-parked in front of the venue with her hazards on so that Paige could load out his equipment. After five minutes, claims Paige, Officer Jeffrey C. Cason pulled up to ticket Logan.

“I’m carrying my stuff out, and I accidentally bump the front of his police car with my amplifier,” Paige tells the Scene. “[The officer] said that I did it on purpose, and that it was vandalism. And then when he asked for my I.D., I asked why. And that’s when shit started getting crazy.”

At that point, says Paige, he was arrested, and several individuals began recording the incident with their phones. Mitchell approached to ask what was happening, when “a cop turned around and, with two hands, shoved him right in the chest and knocked him back.” The footage above shows that Mitchell was shoved by one of the arresting officers, but with one hand only. Shortly after, Mitchell was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. Marcom was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and possession (a marijuana pipe, marijuana, Adderall and lisdexamfetamine) — an arrest warrant notes that Officer Cason "had to physically push this defendant back for our safety."

Look after the jump to see excerpts from the arrest affidavits, as well as a response to the incident that Dave Pomeroy — president of the Nashville Musicians Union — posted on his Facebook page on Friday.

From Matthew Paige's vandalism affidavit, arresting officer Jeffrey C. Cason:

While writing a parking ticket on a vehicle that was parked in a lane of traffic, this defendant was very argumentative and confrontational. This defendant was trying to load musical equipment into the vehicle that was receiving a citation. This defendant struck the hood of my car two times with two different pieces of musical equipment. This act resulted in two plainly visible black marks/scratches on the hood of my car. I immediately notified a supervisor to respond to the scene. While waiting for the Sergeant’s response, I requested this defendant’s ID and he refused to give it to me. I told him that I needed his information to document the damage to my vehicle that he had caused. The defendant continued to refuse after multiple requests for his ID. The defendant’s friends began yelling and becoming aggressive. I attempted to separate the defendant from the aggressive parties and obtain his information. The defendant was still non-compliant. I attempted to arrest him for the vandalism to my patrol car. The defendant then began to twist and pull away. The defendant was very physically resistant to our attempts to handcuff him. It took three Officers to complete the handcuffing of this defendant.

From Matthew Paige's resisting arrest affidavit:

I attempted to arrest him for the vandalism to my patrol car. The defendant then began to twist and pull away. The defendant was very physically resistant to our attempts to handcuff him. It took three Officers to complete the handcuffing of this defendant.

From Jeffrey Marcom's disorderly conduct affidavit, arresting officer Jeffrey C. Cason:

This defendant was very aggressive and confrontational about his friend being arrested. This defendant was also refusing to step back to a safe distance while we conducted our arrest. I had to physically push this defendant back for our safety. This defendant then became even more aggressive and also began yelling, cursing, and walked back in towards police. I attempted to take the defendant into custody for the disorderly conduct. The defendant then began to twist and pull away with his hands clenched and arms tense. The defendant resisted turning around and resisted placing his hands behind his back. The level of resistance and aggression coupled with our location caused me to have to place an emergency call for help. It took four Officers to complete the handcuffing of this defendant. This defendant then also refused to sit in the patrol car. It took two Officers to make him get into the car. A search incident to arrest while at booking revealed multiple illegal narcotics and a marijuana pipe.

From Gaelen Mitchell's disorderly conduct affidavit, arresting officer Jonny R. Cantrell:

While police were attempting to arrest another subject at this location the defendant approached police trying to intervene. Police gave the defendant a lawful command to stay back. The defendant again approached police in an attempt to intervene in the arrest. The defendant was taken into custody at which time he tried to resist his own arrest by pulling away from police. It took a total of three officers to place handcuffs on the defendant.

In response to the incident, Dave Pomeroy, president of the Nashville's Musicians Union, posted the following statement on his Facebook page on Friday:

Dear Lower Broadway Musicians: I have been made aware of the incident last night (7/25) on Lower Broadway between police and musicians, resulting in the arrest of two musicians who protested getting a ticket. I spoke with Downtown Police Commander Jason Reinbold about this a couple of hours ago. He is extremely concerned about this and has immediately launched a full investigation that will be a matter of public record as soon as it is completed. He has assured me that if the allegations are found to be true, the officers involved will never be working on Broadway again.

Commander Reinbold has asked me to reach out to anyone who may have videos and/or photos of the incident that can be used as evidence in this investigation. A first person eyewitness account would also be helpful. Please try to state the facts as objectively as possible. Please send any information, videos, etc. to me at nashmusicians@aol.com. Without this information, Commander Reinbold has no way of verifying what actually happened and separate fact from fiction.

As I have said in the past, anytime there is a problem with police or taxis, it is VERY IMPORTANT to get officer’s name and badge number in a respectful fashion if at all possible, and in the case of taxis, company name and cab number. I will be acting as a conduit of information going both ways. I hope everyone will remain calm and not do anything rash that would make a bad situation even worse. Commander Reinbold and I are committed to working with the city to solve this and other problems on Lower Broadway on a permanent basis. Thanks to all of you in advance for your help!

"Conflicting reports have emerged on the location of the cited vehicle," notes reporter Emily Kubis over at our sister paper, The City Paper. "Cason and the officer heard on the video state it was parked in a lane of traffic, while some of the musicians claim it was parked in or near a Musician Loading Zone, which have been marked since 2011."

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