Woodmere, OH — A man police claimed was playing a guitar and being disorderly was arrested and charged with an “asshole charge” according to the police officer’s own words. Police Sergeant Christopher Colon arrested street musician Joseph Workman after the guitar player asserted his First Amendment rights and stood his ground.
The body camera footage begins when officers approach Workman and tell him he’s in violation of the Village of Woodmere’s noise ordinance. Workman disagreed with the initial officer’s claim Workman was on private property. Workman said he was on a public sidewalk and that he had every right to play his musical instrument in public, especially on a public sidewalk where he is allowed to be.
After Workman asked for a supervisor, Sergeant Colon identified himself and told the musician to beat it, and stop playing the guitar in public. That’s when Workman began hurling profanities at the officers, again, a legally protected form of free speech. Colon took umbrage with Workman saying he was then being disorderly and would be arrested.
The street musician continued cursing at Colon until the decorated boy in blue lost his cool and threw Workman to the ground arresting him. When Workman asked the cop why he was arresting him, the cop said he is being arrested on the “asshole charge” because Workman was swearing. Then putting his hypocrisy on full display, the arrested officer began cussing at Workman telling him to “Don’t f**king move!” This cop began using the same words he was using to charge Workman, a hypocrite indeed.
Cop watchers will likely recognize Workman’s tactics. First, he gets the cops on camera claiming he’s in violation of the law when he clearly isn’t. Second, he reminds them the law against noises does not apply to guitar players under a certain decibel range. He then claims he was not panhandling. Lastly, he uses profanity to get the cops triggered enough to assault him, take him to the ground, detain and eventually arrest the man who was apparently just trying to hustle. The cops played right into this man's hands.
It’s unclear if the cops knew it but Workman has a successful history of suing police departments for depriving him of his constitutionally protected rights. He recently won a $2000 settlement from Chardon, Ohio after he and his brother were arrested for playing their musical instruments in public.
Workman made sure to get the officers’ names and badge numbers on record according to the body camera footage. According to PINAC news:
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And he will probably end up receiving a settlement from the village of Woodmere, which has a population of just over 800 people and is one of 14 mayor's courts in Ohio to show a "distinct patterns of racial bias and profit-oriented policing."
Arrested in Cleveland in August for much the same issue, Workman’s charges were dismissed and the judge ordered police to return his cell phone. On it, Workman claims, was proof the street musician had his rights violated there as well. He has yet to get his cell phone back.
Police claim to be obliged to investigate whenever they receive a complaint. But when they meet individuals to claim to know their rights as well as the law better than them, the citizens often find their rights being violated and are in an excellent position to receive compensation for having been kidnapped and caged.
Street performers are not often as well versed in the law as Workman. In 2017, Ryan Daleee Strader was arrested for supposedly “soliciting without a license.” As TFTP has reported, the growing police state insists on licensing nearly every freedom Americans supposedly hold dear. In Strader’s case he was arrested after asking a cop where he could legally play his music in public. Later, he was ordered to pay $250 in fines.
For his part within the department, Sergeant Colon has received honors and recognition while serving as a leader inside the Village of Woodmere’s police department. On one occasion he and his fellow officers were given awards from the chief of police for not killing a weed dealer found in possession of a gun and three pounds of weed.
Colon, also, once claimed to be homeless himself. It’s unclear if he ever asked people for money but he did take handouts. We uncovered an article where Colon stated he received many free meals from the St. Augustine Hunger Center in Cleveland. Maybe he has forgotten from where he has come and all the people who gave such as those passing by who allegedly gave money to Workman on the night the street musician’s and the once homeless police officer’s paths crossed.