JACKSONVILLE, Fla. July 7th – A 22-year-old musician was arrested and cited by police after playing the national anthem on a Neptune Beach sidewalk on the Fourth of July.
Lane Pittman said he was playing his electric guitar around 3 p.m. Saturday on 1st Street and Margaret Street, in front of his friend’s home. He said a sergeant from the Neptune Beach Police Department came by and told him to move out of the street or he would go to jail. Pittman said he politely asked if he could play on the sidewalk instead, and the sergeant said he could.
He moved to a nearby sidewalk and then played “The Star-Spangled Banner,” drawing a crowd of about 200, who cheered him on and chanted his name.
“I don’t think I ever played that song as good in my life as I did on that day. It felt right. It was an emotional roller coaster,” Pittman said.
A video of the performance has received more than 8,000 views on YouTube. Toward the end of the video, officers can be seen approaching Pittman and asking to speak with him. Pittman puts his guitar away and goes with the officers.
Pittman said what happened next took him completely by surprise. The officers handcuffed him and drove him to the police station.
“He goes, ‘Spread your legs. Put your hands behind your back,’ and that was when I was like, ‘Oh my gosh. Is he serious? I’m getting arrested for this after I was told I could do it?’” Pittman said.
Pittman said the officers told him they wanted to charge him with inciting a riot and take him to jail to keep him overnight, but they didn’t have the resources to take him Downtown.
“That blows my mind, because it was peaceful up until the time they arrested me,” Pittman said.
Everybody knows how much respect we have for the police around here, if anything I get criticized for taking the cops’ side too often in stories. But this is where I draw the line. This is where I just can’t support the law. When an American bro in an America tank top is shredding the Star Spangled Banner to a cheering crowd of proud Americans and gets shut down and arrested. And on the 4th of July no less. Cuffed, hauled in, and stuffed in a jail cell. For what, being too patriotic? Loving his country too much? Wanting his fellow Americans to have an awesome Independence Day?
And for the record it’s not like he’s some bad guy or degenerate.
Pittman has no criminal record. He plays in his church’s band, is a high school lacrosse coach and is well-known in the beaches community.
Pittman said he does not drink and had no alcohol in his system when the police took him away.
But I don’t even care about that. I don’t care if he was a high school dropout covered in tattoos chugging a bottle of Jack Daniels with a joint hanging out of his mouth. Some things you just have to look the other way on, and being American as fuck on the 4th of July is one of those things. I did not sign up to live in a country where you get jailed and prosecuted for playing the national anthem that’s for damn sure.
Cops were probably Canadian or something. Only explanation.