nifer Posted September 2 Report Share Posted September 2 from an email i received:This is Sean O'Neal.Late saturday night, I and my roommate Chris Frank (a.k.a. Crasta) werearrested while leaving Transit Nightclub. The entire story is below.(Yeah, it's a bit long.) You can either read what is I pasted below, orclick on the Microsoft Word attachment.This is not an angry rebound about what happend. This is because Ithink people need to become aware that it's very possible to getarrested on the outskirts of Philadelphia nightclubs. It seems to begetting worse and worse, and a lot of people are getting arrestedunjustifiably. Similar incidences have also happend to others that Iknow in the recent months -- one of them happened just outside Fluidlast Thursday night.If you're interested, please read...(Feel free to post this story on messgage boards.)thanks,Sean-----Hi.I was arrested outside of Transit Nightclub...On Aug. 31st, 2003, at approximately 3:30am, I was exiting TransitNightclub on Sixth and Spring Garden streets with my girlfriend KateIwanowicz after being there for less than two hours and only drinkingone beer. The club was just letting out, and there was a large crowd ofpeople leaving the club. The first thing that I noticed when I exitedthe nightclub was a paddy wagon parked in front of the exit and a groupof police officers telling everyone to leave the area. (They werealready prepared to make an arrest -- causing a scene before there was ascene. According to the promoter of the event held at Transit thatnight, the initial batch of police were never called to the scene.)Along with a dozen or so other promoters standing by the exit door, Kateand I began to hand out fliers for a musical event that we are hostingat 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 allplanning on leaving together. So we decided to attempt to hand outfliers until he arrived. A minute or so later, a police officer (Sgt.Anthony Samarco) approached me and said, "No handing out fliers, youhave to leave." I said, "OK, but can I wait a few minutes for myroommate because we are going home together?" He said, "No, you have togo." I then pointed to the adjacent parking lot and asked, "May I waitover here for him?" He then raised his voice and repeated somethingsimilar to what he said before. For the fourth and last time, I thenpointed across the street (Spring Garden St.) and asked, "Is it OK if Iwait over there for him?" At this point, the officer became very angryand shouted something (I can't remember what exactly) directly into myface. I replied in a calm and mature voice (which he must have found tobe snooty, I suppose), "You are not being very nice about this." I thenproceeded to walk away from the club. While I was walking away with myback to both the officer and the club, I turned to my friend and saidagain in the exact same relaxed tone, "He is not being very nice." Theofficer then immediately grabbed my arm and shouted "That's it," andthen he handcuffed me. (While this all was happening, I and otherwitnesses noticed that the dozen or so promoters continued to hand outfliers to the exiting club-goers without having any trouble with thepolice.) While he was handcuffing me, I asked in a calm voice, "Why am Ibeing arrested?" And I said things like "I didn't do anything," "Ididn't disrespect you, Officer" and "But I was leaving." And surroundingpeople began shouting questions to the effect of "Why are you arrestinghim?" But the officer never told me why I was being arrested. He thenpassed me off to one of his underling officers and instructed theofficer to put me into the back of a police car. While this officer wasescorting me to the car, I asked him, "Why am I being arrested?" Heshrugged his shoulders and replied, "I have no idea." While I wassitting in the car handcuffed, I noticed my girlfriend Kate trying toget information from the officers. I could not hear what they weresaying to each other, but I did notice that the officer (I think it wasagain Sgt. Samarco) began screaming and shouting in her face while shewas being calm and cool (as she always is) about the situation. At thispoint, I became terrified and, of course, freaked out (like any humanbeing would probably feel in this situation). (Bare in mind that I waspretty traumatized at this point because nothing like this has everhappened 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 thatwas standing outside of the police car guarding my door. But I wasunable to successfully do so because my hands were handcuffed behind myback. 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 youscreaming at her? Can we please handle this situation in a civilizedway?" Sgt. Samarco ran over and shouted something like "Don't kick thedoor." 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 beingslammed face-first into the hood of a car by a small heard of policeofficers. (Apparently, Chris was angered by what happened to me, and wasasking questions at the officers demanding an explanation.) At thatpoint, I was really freaked out, scared and confused because of thesituation at hand. I kicked the door again (because I was unable toknock normally) to get the officer's attention. The guarding underlingofficer opened the door for me, and Sgt. Samarco raced over to me againwhile 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 andscreamed, "I was going to let you go, but now I'm not." I then waitedfor several minutes, and then I was transported and placed into thepaddy wagon where I joined my roommate Chris. (No one else got arrestedthat night -- only Chris and I were in the wagon.) While we were sittingin the back of a paddy wagon amid pitch-black darkness, Chris becameconcerned that his expensive eyeglasses were missing because they wereknocked off of his face, and he can not see without them, and that theymust have been somewhere outside around where the officers threw himonto the hood of a car. Chris and I managed to step through thehandcuffs so that our hands were in front of us and not behind us -- inorder to alert the officers that Chris can't see and was in need of hisglasses. We then proceeded to pound on the paddy wagon door so that wecan tell the officers that his glasses were missing. When they openedthe door, we started saying something to the effect of "A pair ofglasses are missing" and Chris was saying "I can't see." But theofficers were screaming over us not listening to anything we weresaying. They were screaming something like "How did you get thehandcuffs in front of you?" and "Get out of the wagon." We both got outof the wagon and were surrounded by approximately six officers.(Meanwhile, a crowd of people -- many of whom I know -- were still therewatching this fiasco go down. Apparently, they were never asked to leavethe area.) One of the officers instructed us to put our hands behind usagain. I said, "I can't because when I put them in front of my body, thehandcuffs became very tight." I told him that I was unable to do it. Hethen replied, "Well, if you can put them in front of you, then you canput them back behind you." He then shouted, "Now do it!" I said that Icouldn'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 getmaced? Do you wanna get maced?" I replied, "No, I do not want to getmaced." At this point in time, I realized that Chris and I were merelybeing made examples of. We were now a spectacle, and the police weretoying 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 beingmade a spectacle of, they put Chris and me back into the van while myhandcuffs remained in front of my body. While we were being driven tothe precinct, Chris and I were terrified -- fearing that the police weregoing to take us somewhere and beat us up or harass us. We were wrongabout 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 phoneto tell them that we were being transported by officers in the back of apaddy wagon, and we didn't know where we were being taken, and we didn'tknow what was going to happen to us. We were terrified andnear-convinced, based on the officers' previous actions, that somethingrash and unlawful was about to happen to us. But this 911 call onlyresulted in us being the laughing stock at the precinct soon after theofficers were notified that Chris made this call.We were transported to the 21st and Hamilton streets precinct whereChris was held in a cell for about 19 hours. I was moved to 11th andWinter streets where I was held in a cell for approximately 3 hours. Iwas charged with two counts: "Criminal Mischief" and "DisorderlyConduct." (I think "criminal mischief" means something to the effect of-- if the police were never there, I would have potentially created acrime, but I didn't because the police were already there to prevent thecrime.) Chris was charged with four counts: "Reap," "Resisting Arrest,""Disorderly Conduct" and "Harassment." All of these charges are ofcourse inaccurate, unprecedented and unjust.Not only was my court case scheduled for the following Tuesday morningat 8:30 a.m. -- clearly allowing me no time or ability to find and hiredecent representation (i.e. a lawyer) to handle the case because thisincident took place late Saturday night during the Labor Day weekendholiday. I am forced to go into a courtroom and fight grosslyexaggerated and completely fabricated accusations without a lawyer thatI can trust -- meanwhile, having no idea what to expect or how to handlethe situation in the courtroom because I have never been arrested likethis before and clearly have zero experience with this sort of thing.My police report was practically a fabrication from start to finish. Itsays, "I asked him to await in medial area." But Sgt. Samarco actuallytold me to leave the area altogether. In fact, this entire verbalexchange took place in a "medial area." We were about 20 or so feet offto the side from the entire crowd. And he never said "medial area." Heonly instructed me to leave the area altogether. The police reportcontinues saying that I "walked five steps and stated, 'I know myrights, I don't have to go anywhere." But I never said anything of thesort. I never even implied such a stance during this situation. I askedthe officer if I may wait for my friend, and asking if I can wait at avariety 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, "Heis not being very nice." The police report continues, "I asked him toleave again...the deft started shouting, 'I didn't do anything wrong."But this is grossly exaggerated and completely out of context. First, Inever 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 thisafter 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 commentto be said at this point in time.) The report ends in saying, "The deftkicked the window causing it to come off the track and damage therubber...estimated damage $200.00." But I never kicked the window, onlythe door -- and without aggression. I was merely knocking on the doorwith my foot because I was unable to knock on the door in a normal waydue to my hands being handcuffed behind my back. And the window wasnever knocked off its track as far as I could see, and no damage wasmade as far as I could tell. And if there was, it most likely occurredprior to me ever being placed into the police car. None of the officersnoticed any damage to the window while I was in the car. And how canthey get this estimate at 4 o'clock in the morning? This police reportleads me to believe that the officer had nothing to arrest me for, so hefabricated things and grossly stretched the truth in order to charge mewith something.More importantly, I have already had over a dozen people (some I knowand some I don't know personally) who offered their services to bothChris and me as witnesses to this whole occurrence. They can all vouchfor us that both my police report as well as Chris Frank's areinaccurate. They can all vouch for us in a court of law and confirm thatour stories are accurate and truthful. (See the list of witnessesbelow.)In Chris Frank's police report -- strangely much shorter than mine eventhough he has twice as many charges as I do -- it says that Chris was"swinging his fists at the compl thereby requiring substantial force toovercome the resistance." This never happened, and many witnesses willsay that this never happened. Chris never swung his fists at anybody. Hewas, however, very angry at the ordeal, and asking questions about whathappened with an angry tone of voice. Chris' report also says that hewas "yelling obscenities." Chris says that he probably was cursing bythe time they were threatening to arrest him and refusing to explain tohim 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 itseem as if he was resisting arrest. This is what Chris had to say aboutthe ordeal:---On the night of August 31st, 2003, I exited the Transit Nightclub ataproximately 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'sgirlfriend Kate Iwanowicz and began to ask her what happened. She toldme Sean had been handcuffed "for no reason." I then asked a near-byofficer what happened and was ignored. Then Officer Aichroth approachedme telling me to "back off" or I would be arrested also. I then triedto explain that I was merely asking a simple question to which hereplied that I should "shut my fucking mouth." At this point I realizedthat I was being surrounded by five or six officers. I began sayingthat to arrest someone for asking questions is akin to living in apolice state. They then closed in on me and all grabbed me at once. Myleft pinky finger was twisted around my back causing a severe sprain ofthe ligaments, a nightstick was jabbed into my left kidney area and Ithen fell to the ground and was subdued. The claims that I "took aswing" at Officer Aichroth are totally false. It is my belief afterreviewing my own experience and listening to other witnesses thatOfficer Aichroth's and Sgt. Samarco's attitude and demeanor caused theentire incident with both Sean O'Neal and myself. Officer Aichroth wasadversarial from the very start of the ordeal. In dealing with thepeople exiting the nightclub, their authoritative and bullying behaviorcreated a situation in which it was only a matter of time before theyfound someone to arrest.---Ironically enough, several days before this night, I was leaving FluidNightclub (at Fourth and South streets), and the police were presentthere asking everyone to leave the area. One drunk fellow (I think hisname 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 iswas not a good thing to say to an ego-driven police officer. The officerimmediately flipped John over his shoulder and onto the ground -- hence,being violent and irrational only because he felt insulted by this guy'swords. I don't know much about this incident. I plan on educating myselfmore about this incident. But this along with what happened to Chris andme makes me wonder if these cops have been ordered by the DA's office tocrack down on dispersing club-goers -- ordering the officers to makemore arrests than usual. But that is only an assumption even though itseems almost obvious. After all, like I said, when I left Transit, thepolice were already there prepared to make an arrest with the paddywagon on hand -- all before any problems ever occurred. The police werethe ones that created a problem, not me or anyone in the crowd. If theyweren't there, it's most likely that no problems would have everoccurred outside of Transit that evening -- especially baring in mindthat this particular crowd was a tame one with little history offighting, and no history of using weapons. Being one of Philadelphia'sdedicated dance music and club culture journalists, I am thoroughlywell-versed on the different sorts of crowds and the different sorts ofevents that take place in Philadelphia.your criminal friend,Sean O'Neal Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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