The title of this post pretty much explains it all. Of course, if the recent Phish reunion shows were held on the West Coast, I would have titled it “Hella fools get arrested…” Thousands of excited concert goers arrive in Hampton, VA to see their favorite 4-piece throw down the crazy funk jams that they’ve been dreaming of for the last 5 years, only to be fucked with imercifully by the local Po-Po. You may have heard about this on various websites or even on your local TV news, but I’m calling bullshit on many of these reports and the operation as a whole. I’m also going to tell you exactly why.
The mugshots I’ve provided in the gallery were taken from thesmokinggun.com after our writer Onsen emailed me a link. Apparently, these images are public property. I originally checked them out to see if any of my friends were featured but, although this is only said to be a small sample of those reportedly arrested, so far…so good. Cross referencing the smokinggun post with an Associated Press article sent to me by another writer, A.Misallati, the general consensus seems to be as follow:
* There were 194 arrests
* Most were for “possession” and “distribution”
* Nearly 200 officers were working the event
* $68,000 was seized
* Street value of drugs confiscated was $1,213,882.80
Yep, and “80 cents“. The exact calculation of the narcotics seems ridiculous, since street value will fluctuate, especially in a concert setting. My belief is that the number was inflated by authorities in the report because, this is the type of shit that freaks out soccer moms across the nation. I can almost guarantee that the amount of cash collected, on the other hand, was severely higher than reported. My bet is that it was at least twice that and the rest was pocketed. Sixty-eight grand sounds like a lot of money but not compared to the 1.2 million dollars worth of drugs that they are claiming to have seized. This gives the impression that the officers were so on point that they were able to prevent most of the distribution from even occurring. Most of this must have gone down outside the venue and within the time that the fans arrived and showtime, because I doubt that many arrests took place in the venue during the performance. It’s true that a number of “phans” without tickets were probably getting popped in the lot outside of the venue but, from what I remember, Hampton Coliseum does not provide a camping area. Coupled with the fact that the venue is known to be a historically sketchy spot to try and work anything illegal, not many people were likely to stay behind too long after the shows; limiting the amount of time for law enforcement to work their magical brand of justice.
I was stopped and grabbed on my way to a Honey Bucket during Bonnaroo 2005. I wasn’t doing shit at the time, either. I was laughed at and told, “Sorry. Looks like you were in the wrong place at the wrong time.” My hands were placed on a vehicle and $1,200 in cash was taken from my pockets. I was then simply thrown out of the venue and sneaked right back in. That year, someone had built a strip club in the lot (complete with pole), girls were being pimped down Shakedown, and people were slanging rock everywhere. It was dirty as fuck but I got stopped trying to take a piss. People were getting stopped for things like drinking from glass bottles. They would then get searched and arrested or “legally robbed”. After the festival, we read a police report much like this one and, although I can not recall exact numbers, the cash that was claimed to have been seized was comparable to that mentioned here, if not less. I saw people who’s confiscated money would have attributed to 1/10 of what they reported, all by themselves. The ration of cops on hand, versus the arrested attendees, means that each and every cop is averaged to have made one arrest a piece. Think about it. Plus, most of the busts for “distribution” did not take place during a sale to law enforcement. If they went down during a transaction between concert goers, then officers probably swiped the buyers loot as well or, at least, searched them and, undoubtedly, found something else. The rest of the busts for distribution were likely because the arrested parties had narcotics that were bagged separately and/or the weight of what they possessed was beyond a possession charge. Unless the parties involved were openly walking around holding giant buds in there hands, I have questions about how most of the possession charges occured at all.
(Click photos to enlarge)
I know that these are only 25 of the mugshots provided out of nearly 200, but look at these people. Some are blitzed out of their gourds, a few were probably busted legitimately, and the rest are just too stereotypical. These are the first shows of the tour so why do so many of these people look like they’ve been sleeping in a Toyota Chinook for the last 3 months? These kids were getting grabbed on hunches that panned out. Once you’re found with something, there’s not much you can say. You don’t see people getting patted down on the way into Celine Dione shows like you do at rap concerts. It’s a shame too, because you know that they have to at least be on some heavy meds to attend that bullshit.
Get out an old copy of the boardgame “Guess Who” or purchase one at your local thrift store. Cut the mug shots out and glue them to the pictures of the original game characters. Play your own version.
“Do you have dread locks?”
“Are your eyes tweeked out?”
“Are you sporting a hoodie”
“I guess you’re Tom!”