Profane Sass: it was fun until ‘overzealous’ officers arrived on Main Street
July 20, 2012
The police arrested two people Wednesday afternoon on Main Street after a dispute involving musicians and the Park City Building Department.
According to an online police statement, a Building Department official who enforces City Hall codes asked for police assistance just before 4 p.m. The police said some people, believed to be in their late 20s, were playing music on the 500 block of Main Street and receiving money for doing so. They did not have a license and were making it difficult for pedestrians to pass on the sidewalk, the police said.
The Building Department official asked them to stop playing until they obtained a permit and asked them to stop restricting the flow of pedestrians. The musicians threatened the official and did not follow the orders, according to the police.
A police officer arrived and made the same requests. The group — about eight people — surrounded the officer and threatened him, the police said. More officers were summoned.
The police arrested two of the people — a person described as the primary aggressor and another person who the police said attempted to intervene in the first arrest. Both were booked into the Summit County Jail on charges of disorderly conduct, inciting a riot and interfering with an officer.
The first police officer on the scene suffered abrasions to an arm and a bruised hand.
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The police warned the others in the group they must obtain a permit to play music. They told the police there were from Oregon and planned to travel to Colorado after a short stay in Park City.
The two people arrested, according to another band member, were:
Formal charges had not been filed by midmorning Thursday. They remained incarcerated Friday morning.
The band is known as Profane Sass. The band’s banjo player and singer, Kim Mullen, said the group is on tour and played at Molly Bloom’s at Kimball Junction on Wednesday night without the two members who were arrested.
Mullen, who was on Main Street with the others when the police made the arrests, said that people were having a good time before the officers arrived. She said seven members of the band were playing acoustic music and taking donations in an open instrument case.
"People were dancing, singing and laughing," she said.
According to Mullen, the Building Department official told the band to stop playing and leave Park City. The official stopped them in the middle of a song, Mullen said.
"He was not respectful, started coming at us super-aggressively," she said.
A police officer then arrived, grabbing a mandolin from one of the musicians, Mullen said. She indicated the band stopped playing at that point. The officer told them to leave Park City or face arrest, Mullen said.
"He’s telling us to shut up . . . We’re Americans. We have freedom of speech," she said, calling the episode the "worst police interaction we’ve ever had."
She said police officers in other cities taking action against the band allow the musicians to finish a song before intervening.
The situation escalated and the officer tackled a band member on the street, Mullen said. Two officers confronted the band with Tasers drawn, she said, describing them as "overzealous cops trying to prove their power."
Band members attended a Park City Council meeting Thursday evening. They spoke to Police Chief Wade Carpenter afterward for a short time but did not address the full meeting.