New Orleans community members are outraged after a video surfaced on social media showing the arrest of a black brass band musician after a white store owner allegedly called the cops on trumpet player Eugene Grant on July 8.
Grant was arrested on charges of resisting arrest and obstructing the public right-of-way.
Onlookers who witnessed the arrest said New Orleans police were unnecessarily rough while detaining Grant, 27, who has developmental delays caused from autism, according to the New Orleans Advocate.
It happened on Monday at around 9:30 p.m when Grant was playing Trumpet in a brass band near Frenchman Street before police responded to a 911 call about an alleged disturbance from the bookstore owner.
When officers arrived on-scene, they requested the band to move out of the street towards the sidewalk, according to New Orleans Police Department Spokesman Andy Cunningham.
“At that time, a member of the band, later identified as Eugene Grant, struck one of the officers in the chest with his instrument, damaging the officer’s body-worn camera,” Cunningham told the Advocate.
Footage from the arrest shows people in the streets accusing the owner of Frenchman Art and Books of disrespecting the New Orleans’ Frenchman Street music culture.
“Eugene was just a musician from New Orleans, doing what New Orleans musicians do. They play on the street, on Frenchmen Street. That’s a part of that neighborhood,” attorney Cherrell Simms Taplin said.
Prosecutors agreed to drop the charges, but people in the neighborhood as well as social media believe the incident showcases a larger issue of police brutality and the erasure of black culture.
Video uploaded to Facebook shows Grant being held to the ground by New Orleans officers as a crowd swarms around him.
The bookstore’s rating was tanked less than 24-hours later after people began criticizing the owner for dialing 911 and making a complaint.
“Who opens a bookstore on a street famous for being the epicenter of music in New Orleans? Then calls the cops on the brass bands that have been playing there for YEARS,” one Yelp user wrote.
Eugene Grant’s mother, Betty said her son is doing OK now and was back playing music again on Bourbon Street, Tuesday afternoon, according to BET.