Police arrested two members of the Brooklyn-based punk band Beechwood on Wednesday evening, pulling both men to the ground on Orchard Street. At least one officer brandished a taser at the crowd while fans gathered around and accused the police of using aggressive force.
Drummer Dorian Tineo, 24, who goes by Isa Flowers, sustained bruises across his body, according to the band, while 21-year-old bassist Sydney Simons came away with two chipped front teeth. Both men spent a night in central booking and were released following arraignments Thursday, according to guitarist Gordon Lawrence, 23.
"The cops had no reason to use such excessive force—bottom line is WE HAVE GUITARS, AND THEY HAVE GUNS," the band wrote in a Facebook post following the incident.
A spokesman for the NYPD told Gothamist on Friday that Tineo threw a "full can of beer" at police officers, prompting the arrest. Simons then allegedly spit in one of the officer's faces, and tried to open the squad car door "in an attempt to let the apprehended individual [Tineo] out of the car."
Gordon challenged these allegations on Friday, saying that Tineo threw a cup of beer into the crowd but was not targeting the police. "An empty cup was thrown into the crowd, just like any rock and roll show," he said. As for Simons's arrest, "Our bass player was among the people who gathered around the cop car, but he wasn't the closest one. He was the smallest in the group and the cops went after him like a bully would do."
Video taken by a concertgoer shows Simons approaching the NYPD car as it begins to pull away from the crowd with Tineo in the back seat. Simons then appears to step away from the car. The police stop short and an officer steps out, pulling Simons to the ground. That officer then brandishes a taser.
Another video posted to Instagram shows the moment that one officer grabs Simons, who does not appear to touch the squad car before he is tackled.
Video taken after Simons is on the ground appears to show a second officer pulling Tineo out through the driver's side window of the squad car and onto the ground. The band did not comment on how Tineo, who appears to be handcuffed, ended up in the front seat of the squad car.
The NYPD could not confirm Friday why police responded to the concert, outside of the leather jacket store The Cast. According to Lawrence, the owners of The Cast, which hosted Wednesday's show as part of the annual summer solstice Make Music New York festival, displayed event permits to the police.
"As soon as the cops pulled up the leaders of the event grabbed the permits," he said. "They [the police] forced us to stop playing and grabbed our drummer by the shirt and dragged him through the crowd."
“We had the proper permits," The Cast Owner Chuck Gaurino told Bowerie Boogie. "Taped to all the amps like we always do. In the years past, the cops would roll up to check to see if we have our permits, we show them, they say ok keep it cool, and they go on their way. It was an insane act of excessive force to say the least.”
Guarino did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Beechwood plans to sue the NYPD, Lawrence said, and is in the process of acquiring a lawyer.
"Police officers show up and see 150 people crowded around. The music is loud and kind of in your face, and people are dressed in all types of leather and denim and crazy hair," he surmised. "This wasn't a Jonas Brothers concert. But instead of saying, 'Oh cool there are some people having a good time,' they see that as a threat—our kind of people."
Tineo was charged with reckless endangerment, harassment, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and criminal mischief, according to the NYPD. Simons was charged with obstruction of governmental administration, aggravated harassment, disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest. Both men have court dates in August.