David MacMain and Tricia Ambrose obtained a defense verdict in under an hour for our client, a City of Allentown Police Officer who arrested a self-proclaimed street minstrel who had been the subject of much sympathetic media attention, and complaints from business owners and citizens. Plaintiff has – to use the term loosely – been “singing” in the streets of Allentown for the past few years – to the amusement of some and irritation of others.
In the incident in question, the officer was responding to complaints about Plaintiff’s disturbing downtown diners and encountered Plaintiff in a full-throated and off-key rendition of “Ba-Ba-Barabara Ann” by the Beach Boys outside of a high-end steak restaurant. Plaintiff immediately became defensive and uncooperative, with the end result being the Officer using a take-down and placing Plaintiff in custody. The incident was captured by i-phone and went viral with over 6 million hits. The officer was vilified by some liberal media outlets and by one particular anti-law enforcement site who labeled the officer’s actions both a violation of the First Amendment and unjustified police force. The jury saw it differently and cleared the officer in less than an hour including their lunch recess. It was an important victory for both the Officer and the Allentown Police Department who have had numerous and ongoing dealings with the Plaintiff.