Walter's: Come for the Show, Stay for the Brawl
So of course everyone in town is talking about the shitstorm/fisticuffs/throwdown that occurred during Friday night's Two Gallants show at Walter's. (We started getting e-mails about it later that evening.)
We're getting eyewitness accounts from hordes of people, and almost just as many variances in the story. As of now, it boils down to one cop, Two Gallants and three taser shots. (There's a song title in there somewhere's.)
It's been reported that Officer G.M. Rodriguez hit Walter's Friday night, not to check out the Two Gallants act, but rather to respond to noise complaints. And that's where it gets messy. Rodriguez allegedly approached the Gallants guitarist Adam Stephens, who responded with obscenities, etc. Suddenly, Stephens is on the floor, pinned down by officer Rodriguez. Drummer Tyson leaps from his kit towards Rodriguez. People charge the stage, there's a lot of pushing and shoving, and Rodriguez, who now says someone grabbed at his gun, reaches for his taser.
Cue the tasering: Stephens, along with a 14-year-old and a UH student who was apparently doing a paper on the music scene (this oughta be worth a few pages) are hit. Rodriguez has cuts and bruises from the incident, and Stephens's stomach might be a little sore, as he was shocked twice.
HPD is publicly lauding Rodriguez, saying he was "abused" after being "attacked."
Yeah, but the way people who were there tell it, it was Stephens who was attacked by a cop who had a bad attitude from the beginning.
There are some good witness stories and even video at the incident's MySpace page, where we learn from one ex-Walter's employee that Rodriguez:
"always came around with a chip on his shoulder, being very confrontational to patrons of Walter's shows."
So, noise complaint gone awry or police brutality? One thing's for sure: The people at the show are shaken and afraid. And one reader, who e-mailed us Saturday, has even offered up a conspiracy theory that involves the cops and real estate developers.
You can bet our music editor/college football pundit John Nova Lomax will be, um, taking charge here. If you were there, or even have a take on all this, he wants to hear from you. (You can leave comments here, as well.) Look for his follow-up coverage in the Press and here. — Steven Devadanam