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Arrested at Transit Nightclub!


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from an email i received:

This is Sean O'Neal.

Late saturday night, I and my roommate Chris Frank (a.k.a. Crasta) were

arrested while leaving Transit Nightclub. The entire story is below.

(Yeah, it's a bit long.) You can either read what is I pasted below, or

click on the Microsoft Word attachment.

This is not an angry rebound about what happend. This is because I

think people need to become aware that it's very possible to get

arrested on the outskirts of Philadelphia nightclubs. It seems to be

getting worse and worse, and a lot of people are getting arrested

unjustifiably. Similar incidences have also happend to others that I

know in the recent months -- one of them happened just outside Fluid

last Thursday night.

If you're interested, please read...

(Feel free to post this story on messgage boards.)





I was arrested outside of Transit Nightclub...

On Aug. 31st, 2003, at approximately 3:30am, I was exiting Transit

Nightclub on Sixth and Spring Garden streets with my girlfriend Kate

Iwanowicz after being there for less than two hours and only drinking

one beer. The club was just letting out, and there was a large crowd of

people leaving the club. The first thing that I noticed when I exited

the nightclub was a paddy wagon parked in front of the exit and a group

of police officers telling everyone to leave the area. (They were

already prepared to make an arrest -- causing a scene before there was a

scene. According to the promoter of the event held at Transit that

night, the initial batch of police were never called to the scene.)

Along with a dozen or so other promoters standing by the exit door, Kate

and I began to hand out fliers for a musical event that we are hosting

at Silk City (one block away from Transit) on that following Friday.

While we were handing out fliers, we were also waiting for my roommate,

Chris Frank (a.k.a. Crasta) to come out of the club because we were all

planning on leaving together. So we decided to attempt to hand out

fliers until he arrived. A minute or so later, a police officer (Sgt.

Anthony Samarco) approached me and said, "No handing out fliers, you

have to leave." I said, "OK, but can I wait a few minutes for my

roommate because we are going home together?" He said, "No, you have to

go." I then pointed to the adjacent parking lot and asked, "May I wait

over here for him?" He then raised his voice and repeated something

similar to what he said before. For the fourth and last time, I then

pointed across the street (Spring Garden St.) and asked, "Is it OK if I

wait over there for him?" At this point, the officer became very angry

and shouted something (I can't remember what exactly) directly into my

face. I replied in a calm and mature voice (which he must have found to

be snooty, I suppose), "You are not being very nice about this." I then

proceeded to walk away from the club. While I was walking away with my

back to both the officer and the club, I turned to my friend and said

again in the exact same relaxed tone, "He is not being very nice." The

officer then immediately grabbed my arm and shouted "That's it," and

then he handcuffed me. (While this all was happening, I and other

witnesses noticed that the dozen or so promoters continued to hand out

fliers to the exiting club-goers without having any trouble with the

police.) While he was handcuffing me, I asked in a calm voice, "Why am I

being arrested?" And I said things like "I didn't do anything," "I

didn't disrespect you, Officer" and "But I was leaving." And surrounding

people began shouting questions to the effect of "Why are you arresting

him?" But the officer never told me why I was being arrested. He then

passed me off to one of his underling officers and instructed the

officer to put me into the back of a police car. While this officer was

escorting me to the car, I asked him, "Why am I being arrested?" He

shrugged his shoulders and replied, "I have no idea." While I was

sitting in the car handcuffed, I noticed my girlfriend Kate trying to

get information from the officers. I could not hear what they were

saying to each other, but I did notice that the officer (I think it was

again Sgt. Samarco) began screaming and shouting in her face while she

was being calm and cool (as she always is) about the situation. At this

point, I became terrified and, of course, freaked out (like any human

being would probably feel in this situation). (Bare in mind that I was

pretty traumatized at this point because nothing like this has ever

happened to me before.) When I saw the officer scream into Kate's face,

I tried to knock on the window to get the attention of the officer that

was standing outside of the police car guarding my door. But I was

unable to successfully do so because my hands were handcuffed behind my

back. So I then pounded on the door with my foot to get his attention.

He opened the door, and I shouted, "That's my girlfriend. Why are you

screaming at her? Can we please handle this situation in a civilized

way?" Sgt. Samarco ran over and shouted something like "Don't kick the

door." Then he closed the door. Less than a minute later, I heard a loud

"Bam!" and turned around only to see my roommate Chirs Frank being

slammed face-first into the hood of a car by a small heard of police

officers. (Apparently, Chris was angered by what happened to me, and was

asking questions at the officers demanding an explanation.) At that

point, I was really freaked out, scared and confused because of the

situation at hand. I kicked the door again (because I was unable to

knock normally) to get the officer's attention. The guarding underling

officer opened the door for me, and Sgt. Samarco raced over to me again

while I was shouting, "That's my roommate. That's who I was waiting for.

Why are you guys doing this to us?" Sgt. Samarco then seatbelted me and

screamed, "I was going to let you go, but now I'm not." I then waited

for several minutes, and then I was transported and placed into the

paddy wagon where I joined my roommate Chris. (No one else got arrested

that night -- only Chris and I were in the wagon.) While we were sitting

in the back of a paddy wagon amid pitch-black darkness, Chris became

concerned that his expensive eyeglasses were missing because they were

knocked off of his face, and he can not see without them, and that they

must have been somewhere outside around where the officers threw him

onto the hood of a car. Chris and I managed to step through the

handcuffs so that our hands were in front of us and not behind us -- in

order to alert the officers that Chris can't see and was in need of his

glasses. We then proceeded to pound on the paddy wagon door so that we

can tell the officers that his glasses were missing. When they opened

the door, we started saying something to the effect of "A pair of

glasses are missing" and Chris was saying "I can't see." But the

officers were screaming over us not listening to anything we were

saying. They were screaming something like "How did you get the

handcuffs in front of you?" and "Get out of the wagon." We both got out

of the wagon and were surrounded by approximately six officers.

(Meanwhile, a crowd of people -- many of whom I know -- were still there

watching this fiasco go down. Apparently, they were never asked to leave

the area.) One of the officers instructed us to put our hands behind us

again. I said, "I can't because when I put them in front of my body, the

handcuffs became very tight." I told him that I was unable to do it. He

then replied, "Well, if you can put them in front of you, then you can

put them back behind you." He then shouted, "Now do it!" I said that I

couldn't. Another officer to my left then threatened that if I don't,

then he will mace me. He shouted over and over again, "Do you wanna get

maced? Do you wanna get maced?" I replied, "No, I do not want to get

maced." At this point in time, I realized that Chris and I were merely

being made examples of. We were now a spectacle, and the police were

toying with us. I proceeded to try to put my handcuffed hands behind me,

but was unable to do so because the cuffs were too tight. After being

made a spectacle of, they put Chris and me back into the van while my

handcuffs remained in front of my body. While we were being driven to

the precinct, Chris and I were terrified -- fearing that the police were

going to take us somewhere and beat us up or harass us. We were wrong

about that, but we were both so traumatized by the ridiculous situation,

we didn't know what to think. Chris even called 911 with his cell phone

to tell them that we were being transported by officers in the back of a

paddy wagon, and we didn't know where we were being taken, and we didn't

know what was going to happen to us. We were terrified and

near-convinced, based on the officers' previous actions, that something

rash and unlawful was about to happen to us. But this 911 call only

resulted in us being the laughing stock at the precinct soon after the

officers were notified that Chris made this call.

We were transported to the 21st and Hamilton streets precinct where

Chris was held in a cell for about 19 hours. I was moved to 11th and

Winter streets where I was held in a cell for approximately 3 hours. I

was charged with two counts: "Criminal Mischief" and "Disorderly

Conduct." (I think "criminal mischief" means something to the effect of

-- if the police were never there, I would have potentially created a

crime, but I didn't because the police were already there to prevent the

crime.) Chris was charged with four counts: "Reap," "Resisting Arrest,"

"Disorderly Conduct" and "Harassment." All of these charges are of

course inaccurate, unprecedented and unjust.

Not only was my court case scheduled for the following Tuesday morning

at 8:30 a.m. -- clearly allowing me no time or ability to find and hire

decent representation (i.e. a lawyer) to handle the case because this

incident took place late Saturday night during the Labor Day weekend

holiday. I am forced to go into a courtroom and fight grossly

exaggerated and completely fabricated accusations without a lawyer that

I can trust -- meanwhile, having no idea what to expect or how to handle

the situation in the courtroom because I have never been arrested like

this before and clearly have zero experience with this sort of thing.

My police report was practically a fabrication from start to finish. It

says, "I asked him to await in medial area." But Sgt. Samarco actually

told me to leave the area altogether. In fact, this entire verbal

exchange took place in a "medial area." We were about 20 or so feet off

to the side from the entire crowd. And he never said "medial area." He

only instructed me to leave the area altogether. The police report

continues saying that I "walked five steps and stated, 'I know my

rights, I don't have to go anywhere." But I never said anything of the

sort. I never even implied such a stance during this situation. I asked

the officer if I may wait for my friend, and asking if I can wait at a

variety of other near-by locations that I was pointing to. I then said,

"You are not being very nice about this." And I said to my friend, "He

is not being very nice." The police report continues, "I asked him to

leave again...the deft started shouting, 'I didn't do anything wrong."

But this is grossly exaggerated and completely out of context. First, I

never shouted prior to being handcuffed and placed into a police car.

The entire time, I spoke with a calm and mature tone of voice. Secondly,

when I said (not shouted) that I didn't do anything wrong, I said this

after I was handcuffed -- while I was being escorted to a police car --

not prior to the arrest. (After all, it's a logical and rational comment

to be said at this point in time.) The report ends in saying, "The deft

kicked the window causing it to come off the track and damage the

rubber...estimated damage $200.00." But I never kicked the window, only

the door -- and without aggression. I was merely knocking on the door

with my foot because I was unable to knock on the door in a normal way

due to my hands being handcuffed behind my back. And the window was

never knocked off its track as far as I could see, and no damage was

made as far as I could tell. And if there was, it most likely occurred

prior to me ever being placed into the police car. None of the officers

noticed any damage to the window while I was in the car. And how can

they get this estimate at 4 o'clock in the morning? This police report

leads me to believe that the officer had nothing to arrest me for, so he

fabricated things and grossly stretched the truth in order to charge me

with something.

More importantly, I have already had over a dozen people (some I know

and some I don't know personally) who offered their services to both

Chris and me as witnesses to this whole occurrence. They can all vouch

for us that both my police report as well as Chris Frank's are

inaccurate. They can all vouch for us in a court of law and confirm that

our stories are accurate and truthful. (See the list of witnesses


In Chris Frank's police report -- strangely much shorter than mine even

though he has twice as many charges as I do -- it says that Chris was

"swinging his fists at the compl thereby requiring substantial force to

overcome the resistance." This never happened, and many witnesses will

say that this never happened. Chris never swung his fists at anybody. He

was, however, very angry at the ordeal, and asking questions about what

happened with an angry tone of voice. Chris' report also says that he

was "yelling obscenities." Chris says that he probably was cursing by

the time they were threatening to arrest him and refusing to explain to

him why I was being arrested. Because of whatever Chris said -- not did

-- he was violently thrown face-first into the hood of a car making it

seem as if he was resisting arrest. This is what Chris had to say about

the ordeal:


On the night of August 31st, 2003, I exited the Transit Nightclub at

aproximately 3:30 am to find that my friend and ride home, Sean O'Neal,

had been handcuffed and placed into a police cruiser. I then saw Sean's

girlfriend Kate Iwanowicz and began to ask her what happened. She told

me Sean had been handcuffed "for no reason." I then asked a near-by

officer what happened and was ignored. Then Officer Aichroth approached

me telling me to "back off" or I would be arrested also. I then tried

to explain that I was merely asking a simple question to which he

replied that I should "shut my fucking mouth." At this point I realized

that I was being surrounded by five or six officers. I began saying

that to arrest someone for asking questions is akin to living in a

police state. They then closed in on me and all grabbed me at once. My

left pinky finger was twisted around my back causing a severe sprain of

the ligaments, a nightstick was jabbed into my left kidney area and I

then fell to the ground and was subdued. The claims that I "took a

swing" at Officer Aichroth are totally false. It is my belief after

reviewing my own experience and listening to other witnesses that

Officer Aichroth's and Sgt. Samarco's attitude and demeanor caused the

entire incident with both Sean O'Neal and myself. Officer Aichroth was

adversarial from the very start of the ordeal. In dealing with the

people exiting the nightclub, their authoritative and bullying behavior

created a situation in which it was only a matter of time before they

found someone to arrest.


Ironically enough, several days before this night, I was leaving Fluid

Nightclub (at Fourth and South streets), and the police were present

there asking everyone to leave the area. One drunk fellow (I think his

name is John) said something uncalled for to one of the police officers.

I don't know what he said exactly, but it was probably something that is

was not a good thing to say to an ego-driven police officer. The officer

immediately flipped John over his shoulder and onto the ground -- hence,

being violent and irrational only because he felt insulted by this guy's

words. I don't know much about this incident. I plan on educating myself

more about this incident. But this along with what happened to Chris and

me makes me wonder if these cops have been ordered by the DA's office to

crack down on dispersing club-goers -- ordering the officers to make

more arrests than usual. But that is only an assumption even though it

seems almost obvious. After all, like I said, when I left Transit, the

police were already there prepared to make an arrest with the paddy

wagon on hand -- all before any problems ever occurred. The police were

the ones that created a problem, not me or anyone in the crowd. If they

weren't there, it's most likely that no problems would have ever

occurred outside of Transit that evening -- especially baring in mind

that this particular crowd was a tame one with little history of

fighting, and no history of using weapons. Being one of Philadelphia's

dedicated dance music and club culture journalists, I am thoroughly

well-versed on the different sorts of crowds and the different sorts of

events that take place in Philadelphia.

your criminal friend,

Sean O'Neal

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whats your point? why exactly do you think they arrested you? You really think the Phildelphia Police Department is that concerned with you leaving the club?

Some of the actions of the police department might not have been warranted.. but why would you EVER kick at the window? I find it hard to believe you were THAT courteous and respectful to the police...

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